Froome offered relief on hell stage

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Chris Froome needed treatment on a wrist injury Chris Froome needed treatment on a wrist injury

Wet weather has forced the Tour de France organisers to remove two of the nine cobbled sections from Wednesday's fifth stage, giving Chris Froome and his injured wrist a little relief on what is expected to be a hellish day in northern France.

The Team Sky leader crashed on Tuesday's fourth stage and was expecting a difficult afternoon on the fifth stage from Ypres to Arenburg Porte du Hinaut, a stage which commemorates 100 years since the start of World War One.

"Due to bad weather and road conditions, two cobbled sectors have been removed from stage five," a statement on letour.com read.

"They are sector seven, the 1,000-metres stretch of cobbles at Mons-en-Pevele, and sector five, which is the 1,400-metres long portion from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Foret.

"It takes the total of paves (cobbled) sections down to 13 kilometres but the race will remain highly attractive.

"The total distance is of stage five will be 152.5-kilometres, which is 3km less than initially planned."

The stage features many of the cobbled sections used in the Paris-Roubaix 'Hell of the North' one-day race.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford welcomed the decision.

He said on letour.com: "The riders' safety must always come first. It's completely different to have cobbles on a one-day race or on a GC (general classification) race when it can have a major impact on the outcome.

"It would have been a shame after such a fantastic start in England to have a stage with such an impact on the GC."

Froome, who also fell on his left side during June's Criterium du Dauphine, was sent for a precautionary X-ray after his wrist bore the brunt of the fall, but Team Sky announced late on Tuesday that the 29-year-old was okay to continue.

Asked about Froome on Wednesday morning, Brailsford added: "He's sore. But it should be all right.

"It's not an ideal scenario but he's all set for this stage. He's a fighter."

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