Despite being bloodied and bruised following two frightening crashes on Stage 18, a game George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) managed to remount his bike both times and finish in 27th place, 10 minutes 58 seconds behind the winner Nairo Quintana at the Tour de France on Thursday.
The 29-year-old New Zealander, who was one of three Jumbo-Visma general classification riders, including team-mates Steven Kruijswijk and Laurens De Plus, selected to undergo an anti-doping test just 45 minutes before the start, described the stage as an "absolute arsehole of a day" on Twitter after the finish.
The 2017 Amgen Tour of California winner has vowed to continue his Tour after being medically checked, and according to the team website, no injuries were found. Bennett has played a key role in the success of the Dutch-registered WorldTour team as this year's Tour, which includes four stages wins, including his involvement in Jumbo-Visma's team time trial victory on Stage 2.
With Stage 10 winner Wout van Aert crashing out on Stage 13's individual time trial, Bennett has been vital team-mate Steven Kruijswijk's success on GC.
Despite Kruijswijk maintaining a 1-minute 47-second deficit on the yellow jersey worn by Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), the 32-year-old Dutchman falls to fourth place on GC as Colombian Egan Bernal leaps from fifth to second after gaining 32 seconds on the leader.
“I got through the day well”, Kruijswijk said. “In the descent of the Galibier it was all hands on deck for a while. When Alaphilippe returned, it was important to limit the damage to Bernal. I also did not want to take too many risks.
"The fact that it started to rain in the end, was not ideal. It was a grueling day with those three long climbs. Nobody dared to go early, because they were afraid to pay the price. Although I didn’t feel great, I survived the stage.”
Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was also seen hitting the pavement during the stage. But the 25-year-old Lotto Soudal sprinter finished the race and will be vying for a third stage win in his Tour debut when the three-week, 21-stage Grand Tour reaches Paris on Sunday.