CHAMBERY, France (Reuters) - Australian Richie Porte said he was grateful he did not suffer worse injuries in the high-speed crash on Sunday that forced him to abandon the Tour de France.
The BMC Racing rider, a pre-race favourite, fractured his pelvis and collarbone when he crashed into a rocky wall on the descent from the Mont du Chat during the ninth stage of the three-week race.
"Obviously I have felt much better than I do right now. I'm in a fair bit of pain and it is a big disappointment to be honest," he told Reuters Television from his hospital bed in Chambery on Tuesday.
"I was in great form and the team were really strong around me as well. It is disappointing. I think after seeing the crash it was lucky that I came away with the injuries that I have."
Porte, who had been tipped as a potential race leader and a serious rival to defending champion Chris Froome, will not rush his comeback.
"I don't think I will be back on my bike for a good while now, but I think the team is good with that. They say 'Just recover, there is no rush to come back' and hopefully I will pull the BMC jersey on by the end of the year," he said.
Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson