The BMC rider lost over a minute and the services of team-mate Darwin Atapuma in the fall approaching Nancy.

BMC rider Tejay van Garderen downplayed the crash which saw him concede over a minute to his GC rivals and lose team-mate Darwin Atapuma en route to Nancy this afternoon.

The American fell when placed at the head of the peloton with just over 15 kilometres remaining, and crossed the line 1-03 after stage winner Matteo Trentin.

Having previously fallen on stage two into Sheffield and twice on Wednesday, this latest crash saw the 25-year-old slip to 18th overall, over three minutes behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali. He finished the stage upon the bike of team-mate Peter Velits.

“The time loss isn’t as big as the crash itself,” he said. “I’ve got a bit of road rash, a sore shoulder which is nothing major, so I’ll definitely be fine to start tomorrow.

“I was on my team-mate Mickey’s [Michael Schär] wheel, but I don’t know. It felt like someone hit the brakes in front, so I had to hit the brakes, then I was taken out a little bit from behind. It all happened so fast, I’m not really sure. I’d have to look at the video footage to tell you.”

Colombian climber Atapuma fell in the same crash as van Garderen, and was forced to abandon his first Tour.

“This is definitely not a good day for the team,” added van Garderen. “We were keeping Atapuma out of the wind and keeping him fresh for the mountains. I hear he banged his knew pretty hard.”

Team manager Yvon Ledanois said that BMC’s tough day came at the end of a largely positive week for the team.

“One minute is nothing. For sure, it’s not a good result today, but we look ahead,” he said.

“If you have one climber less, that’s never good for the team. The first week for Tejay and the team has not been bad. Today was just one bad day.”