Geraint Thomas kept hold of the Yellow Jersey for another day after surviving a crash on the second stage of the Tour de France.
The Cardiff-born rider was one of five Team Sky riders who were sent tumbling on the slippery Belgian roads – including fellow Welshman Luke Rowe.
But Thomas quickly picked himself to finish in the main pack in Liege and keep to retain the race lead he won with Saturday’s storming time trial in Dusseldorf.
Team-mate and defending three-time champ Chris Froome also went down after a Katusha rider lost control around 18 miles from the finish of the stage.
The 31-year-old said: “Some guys crashed in front of us and a few guys came down.
“A little tumble at 30 kilometres. We were all in a good position, but when that happens there is nowhere you can go.
“But we were all OK, and it’s nice bonus to keep the jersey at the end of the day.
“It was sketchy and not very nice conditions. It was very stressful.
“You forget what the Tour’s like, it’s harsh reminder how stressful it can be. Having the jersey made that a lot easier.
“It was a terrible day with the rain, so a definite boost to morale considering the stress.
“Hopefully I can keep the Yellow Jersey for as long as possible, but the overall goal doesn’t change and that is to help Froomey.”
Germany’s Marcel Kittel won the sprint at the end of the stage with Thomas retaining his five secs lead over Switzerland’s Stefan Kung.
Kittel is now just one second further back after picking up a 10-secs time bonus for the victory.
Rowe did not come out of the crash as well and he came home three from last in 193rd spot – 13 minutes 55 seconds down on Kittel.
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