Froome fell badly on day four but battled on for the fifth stage of the great race on its second day in France following three stages in England. 

The 2013 champion went down early in the day and fell again with about 66km to go in the stage, just before he reached the treacherous cobbles stone sections in driving rain that no rider was looking forward to.

He attempted to get back onto a bike but was limping badly and forced to abandon the race by getting into one of his team’s support cars.

Froome began the day in seventh in the overall classification, just two seconds behind leader Vincenzo Nibali who’s won three of the four previous stages. 

An X-ray on his wrist after Tuesday’s race revealed no obvious fracture to his wrist and he was cleared to race on Wednesday sporting a series of bumps and bruises on his leg and hip. 

Already in the tour the Brit’s other big star Mark Cavendish has withdrawn, falling on the opening stage in Yorkshire as they approached his mother’s home town. 

The champion sprinter was to undergo surgery on his shoulder today.

In the end the stage was claimed by Belkin’s excellently named Lars Boom, broke away from the breakaway group with 6km to go in the tough stage from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut and held on.

Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali finished third to reinforce his hold on the leader’s yellow jersey.

The other race favourite, behind Froome, Alberto Contador is now two minutes and 55 seconds behind Italy’s Nibali.

Image via Getty