Great Britain

Cyclist Tim Declercq shows off gruesome back bruises after getting caught in violent HAILSTORM in France race

PROFESSIONAL cyclist Tim Declercq has shown off his gruesome bruises after he was caught in a violent hailstorm during a race.

The Belgian was left with huge red welts on his back because of the extreme weather conditions as he was competing in stage two of the Criterium du Dauphine in France.

The rain had been flooding down all day on the Col du Porte, but hail begun to emerge as the last of the racers reached the finish line.

Declercq was among the riders who caught the worst of it and he later showed fans the painful-looking welts on his backs afterward.

The 31-year-old wrote alongside the picture: "As if Le Dauphine was not painful enough for the legs!"

Fans were quick to share their sympathies for Declercq's injuries, with one writing: "Cycling is a TOUGH sport."

Another simply tweeted: "Oh My God!"

A third added: "This is horrible!"

Storms have been sweeping England and neighbouring countries in western Europe following the recent heatwave.

Some cyclists in France were forced to walk their bikes over the finish line as the roads became icy in the harsh weather.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic ultimately won stage two and is currently wearing the yellow jersey, ahead of France's Thibaut Pinot.

Yet four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome lost more time to Egan Bernal and is now nearly 14 minutes behind his Team Ineos team-mate.

The Dauphine, often regarded as the toughest stage of the five-day event, is the final warm-up race for many riders before the delayed Tour begins on 29 August.

Stage three will start on Friday, covering 157km from Corenc to Saint-Martin-De-Belleville.

A rider's form in the five-stage Dauphine is often used to estimate how they will fair in the three-week, 21-stage Tour de France.

Bernal's champagne celebration is photobombed by madcap Sagan ahead of Tour de France finale

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