Graphic photo shows reality of road rash damage for Tour de France riders

A gruesome image of a banged-up cyclist shows the type of damage that Tour de France riders can sustain in their pursuit of glory.

‘La Grande Boucle’ is famous for its brutality as much as its illustrious history. This year, the world’s best riders will take on 21 stages from 1 – 24 July, covering over 3,300 kilometres in total.

In 2022, the peloton will race up four different mountain ranges and face a dangerous cobble stage as they battle for the yellow jersey. Aside from overall victory, riders will vie for stage victory honours every day.

A victory at Le Tour de France is a career-changer for any rider; as the pinnacle of cycling, a stage win at Le Tour is a great addition to a cyclist’s palmarès.

However, this does not come without its risks. Crashes are a common occurrence in the race, with riders potentially suffering horrific injuries as a result. One of the most common ailments is road rash – a nasty occurrence for any cyclist.

Road rash photo nominated for award

A photo of a cyclist covered in road rash is up for a prestigious award. Sports photographer Alex Whitehead captured a Team GB rider powering through the pain of the injury. Amazingly, the rider’s kit is torn to shreds, with parts of his bloodied body exposed to the elements. You can see the picture for yourself below:

Credit: Instagram/@alex_swpix.

Although not from Le Tour de France, the shot highlights the brutality of professional cycling. The incredible shot is in the cycling category for the 2022 World Sports Photography Awards. It does face stiff competition from many other stunning entries in the category, though.  

That being said, you will be hard-pressed to see such a graphic image nominated for a sports photography award. So how bad is road rash?

Tour de France and road rash: A tale as old as time

A common cycling injury, road rash occurs when a rider crashes and skids along the ground. Like any graze, it stings a lot. Considering the size of road rash in some cases, it can be excruciating. For road cyclists, such as those at Le Tour de France, it’s unavoidable if you come off your bike.

Sadly, this year’s race already has a victim of the injury. EF Education-EasyPost rider Ruben Guerreiro suffered a crash on stage 2 last weekend. Clipping a wheel, Guerreiro caused a multi-rider pile-up, also taking out race leader Yves Lampaert.

Despite the incident, Guerreiro and others involved managed to finish the stage and continue Le Tour. He will continue with some nasty wounds, though. The Portuguese man shared his road rash on Instagram, which was all over his back and torso.

Similarly, four-time Tour de France winner Chris gave himself road rash with a fall on stage 19 of the 2016 edition. He attended the nightly yellow jersey ceremony with ice on his knee and bloodied joints from the crash. Froome was still able to finish Le Tour and take his third overall victory.

Road rash is an unfortunate risk that riders take as they try and claim the glory on Le Tour. It provides some incredible, warrior-like photography, though.

Featured image credit: Getty