Le Havre - Chris Froome was remaining positive despite the curse affecting
Tour de France yellow jersey wearers.
The 30-year-old Briton was set to start Friday's seventh stage wearing the
yellow jersey after German Tony Martin was forced to abandon after crashing on
Thursday and breaking his collarbone.
Martin was the second yellow jersey wearer to crash out of the race
following Swiss Fabian Cancellara on Monday.
Cancellara's crash, in which he broke two vertebrae in his back, allowed
Froome to take the jersey by finishing second on Monday's stage.
But he lost it to Martin the very next day as the German won that stage.
Three-time world time-trial champion Martin broke his collarbone in
Thursday's fall, though, and now the cursed jersey now passes to Froome.
However Tour rules stipulate that the Kenyan-born Froome has the option not
to wear the fabled tunic out of respect to the stricken Martin.
Yet the 2013 champion could have found himself in trouble as well on
Thursday as he was caught up in the Martin crash.
"I took a knock on my knee bone and there was a little bit of blood
there, but nothing more than that, I'm absolutely fine," said Froome.
"I had to wait on the roadside as my rear wheel was buckled and I
couldn't ride on.
"Until the finish (Thursday's) stage was definitely the most
straightforward we've had so far. We had good weather, no crazy winds, and the
pace of the racing was a little more relaxed.
"For me, it was about staying out of trouble and the guys did a good
job in keeping me towards the front of the bunch.
"As I've said before, I'm really happy with how things have gone up to
this point and couldn't have asked for any better. Hopefully we can keep
Froome was forced out of the defence of his Tour yellow jersey on last
year's fifth stage after a third crash in two days saw him break his wrist.
He also had a wobbly moment on the cobbles on Tuesday's fourth stage when he
tried to duck through a gap that didn't exist.
He managed to stay upright then and has so far avoided the majority of the
carnage affecting this year's Tour.
A massive pile-up on Monday saw around 20 riders hit the tarmac and seven of
those, including Cancellara, were unable to start the race the next day.
A couple of those that did manage to soldier on included Australians Michael
Matthews and Adam Hansen, who currently occupy two of the last three places in
The other rider in that last three is Briton Alex Dowsett who crashed badly
on Tuesday's fourth stage, finishing 10 minutes after everyone else.
On Wednesday French sprint hope Nacer Bouhanni and New Zealander Jack Bauer
both quit the Tour after spills, while Swiss Michael Albasini finished the
stage but pulled out before Thursday's start due to a broken arm.
With Martin now out it makes it 11 riders lost to the Tour over the first
half dozen days.
And it could have been worse with the likes of reigning champion Vincenzo
Nibali and fellow overall hopeful Nairo Quintana both taken down in Thursday's
Nibali, though, said he was fine: "It's ok, I hit my shoulder and leg,
and the bottom of my back, but when you hit the deck it's always
Quintana, who holds the hopes of a nation on his shoulders as he bids to
become the first Latin American to win the Tour, moved to reassure his fans.
"I have a superficial wound. Now in the heat of the moment I don't feel
any pain," he said.
"I hope it's really nothing and that my elbow feels ok (on Friday)
morning. People at home can feel calm about this."