Froome must come back stronger, says team-mate Poels
Wout Poels has told his team-mate and four-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome to "come back stronger" after suffering a suspected broken leg.
The Team Ineos rider sustained a serious injury following a heavy crash in the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday.
Froome's hopes of securing a record-equalling fifth title this summer at the Tour were ended on Wednesday when he hit a wall at 60km an hour as he tried to blow his nose.
Chris Froome has been ruled out of the Tour de FrancePA Sport
Poels was riding just ahead of Froome on his way to finishing in 19th place, and he told reporters: "We were after the climb on the downhill and the wind took Chris Froome's wheel and he went down like really, really hard on the floor, and I think we were going 66 or 65kph. It was really bad.
" It was pretty windy out there and especially on a TT bike. I mean especially with the high wheels and you're also in a little bit of a less comfortable position of course. "
"Yeah, it can happen. If you go down at 65kph, and he went down really, really hard, then you know it's not really good."
Chris Froome and Wout Poels at the 2018 GiroGetty Images
Heading into Thursday’s fifth stage, the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider has a four-second lead over Dylan Teuns.
Poels sustained a series of bad injuries during the 2012 Tour de France, ending up in intensive care after rupturing his spleen and kidneys, bruising his lungs and breaking three ribs during a mass pile-up.
A three-month absence from the bike followed, but having recovered to win a Monument in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Poels has become one of Froome's most important lieutenants.
Froome crashed during stage four of the Criterium du DauphineGetty Images
"I hope it's not as bad a crash as what I had in 2012, but I mean it's also sport," he added. "There's also the mentality with us that sometimes you have a bad injury or accident and then you fight back. Hopefully, you can come back stronger.
"The DS car was behind him and luckily there was an ambulance 100 metres next to the course, so they came straight to him. I didn't go back but waited a little and saw he was in care, so thought it was better to leave the professionals there and give him the first aid. I didn't speak with him."