Froome takes another tumble

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Chris Froome's is encountering problems in his Tour de France title defence Chris Froome's is encountering problems in his Tour de France title defence

Chris Froome fell for a second successive day on stage five of the Tour de France, before the race even reached the cobbled sections he has been dreading.

The defending champion had a precautionary X-ray on his wrist following a crash on Tuesday's fourth stage and again took a tumble on the route from Ypres to Arenburg Porte du Hinaut.

Froome was swiftly back on his bike and dragged back to the peloton by four team-mates.

The stage commemorates 100 years since the start of World War One and features many of the cobbles used in the Paris-Roubaix one-day race - 'The Hell of the North'.

Wet weather forced race organisers to remove two of the nine cobbled sections, but Froome's fall came early on the route, prior to the first cobbled section.

Froome rejoined the main pack after 42km.

The first cobbled section was due after 87km of racing, with organisers removing sector seven and five - two sections totalling 2.4km - reducing the stage distance to 152.5km, 3km less than originally planned.

Froome fell on his left side during June's Criterium du Dauphine and again on Tuesday, but the latest fall came on his right.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said prior to the start that Richie Porte would be a protected rider, like Froome, as an insurance policy if the 29-year-old Briton's injuries proved too severe for him to challenge for the overall title.

The decision again highlighted Brailsford's call to omit Sir Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 winner, from Team Sky's squad.

Wiggins was ninth in Paris-Roubaix in April and won May's Tour of California but was not selected.

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