Froome relieved to only lose skin from his backside in Tour crash

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Chris Froome was relieved to lose only a little skin from his backside rather than any time from his rivals after the Tour de France favourite was involved in a big crash on a wet stage two.

Froome was among around 20 riders, including team-mate and yellow-jersey holder Geraint Thomas, to hit the deck 30 kilometres from the end of the route from Dusseldorf to Liege - which was won by Marcel Kittel on Sunday

The defending champion picked himself up and changed his bike soon after, before being guided back into the peloton by Michal Kwiatkowski on a day in which heavy rain made for testing conditions.

Froome was left with a hole in his shorts, but avoided any serious damage in what was an early scare as he attempts to win the most prestigious of Grand Tours for a fourth time.

The Team Sky rider said: "I have no injuries thankfully - I've just lost a little bit of skin on my backside. That's the nature of the race.

"We knew it was slippery conditions and every time you put the race numbers on there's a big risk something could happen.

"Someone slid just a few wheels ahead of me and at those speeds you just can't avoid it. A few of us went down but thankfully everyone is okay and we got to the finish alright without losing any time to our rivals. That's the main thing."

German Kittel sprinted to a 10th Tour stage victory to cap a memorable day, which he started with the support of thousands at the side of the road in his homeland.

"I knew that this was going to be a fast finish. In the end when I noticed the other lead-outs were not there, I realised with 500 metres left I had to go now by myself," the Quick-Step Floors rider said.

"I chose a wheel and stayed on the right, so I am super-relieved. After we had the grand depart in Germany with all those people next to the road today I was super-happy to get the first Germany victory for the German fans."