His day started with a scare when he hit the deck prior to stage seven’s first climb, briefly putting him over a minute behind the other general classification contenders, but Chris Froome ultimately turned things around well to gain time on his rivals.

The Team Sky rider chased back to the peloton after his fall and then attacked inside the final uphill kilometre of the stage, almost bridging across to the attackers Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and placing seventh.

The surge saw him gain two seconds on the other GC contenders, moving him to within 20 seconds of the red jersey of race leader Alejandro Valverde, five seconds off Valverde’s team-mate Nairo Quintana and just two second off third-placed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo).

“I’m feeling okay,” Froome said after the stage, “but you definitely get the feeling that when bad luck comes it comes more than once. But all things considered I’m feeling all right and I think I got off relatively unscathed. It’s good to have another day behind us now.”

The fall brought back memories of the three crashes which forced him out of the Tour de France, although fortunately things weren’t so serious this time round.

“When the crash happened a Giant-Shimano rider went down in front of me just to my left. I swerved to try and avoid that and went down,” he said, explaining how the accident happened. “Then the guys paced me back. It took us a good 15 kilometres before we got back into the peloton.

“The rest of the guys did a great job looking after me, pacing me back into the race and keeping me in a good position for the rest of the day.”

In addition to gaining the time at the end of the stage, his surge also brought a psychological boost. It showed his GC rivals that he was not hurt by his crash and that it would not slow him down in the days ahead.

“I’ll definitely take that after a stage like today,” he said. “At the end of the race you might need all the seconds you can to defend your place. I’ll keep chipping away and get closer to the time trial.”