Star shares shocking injury pic

This year's Tour de France has been brutal on riders.
This year's Tour de France has been brutal on riders.

A TOUR de France cyclist has shown off his horror injuries for the first time.

Spanish rider Luis Leon Sanchez needed surgery on a broken elbow that forced him out of the three-week race.

And the 34-year-old posted a photo of the gruesome injury that forced him to quit the Tour de France after he hit the deck during the second stage after riding into road furniture.

Sanchez had to undergo an operation on four ribs and his left elbow after he crashed 25 miles from the end of the day's ride, before being taken to hospital in the Pays de la Loire.

In the photo, a huge cut can be seen running own Sanchez's arm with at least eight metal staples holding the wound together.

A painful-looking graze can be seen above the cut and the skin around the injury seems discoloured.

Sanchez, 34, who rides for Astana, added the caption: "We have taken the first steps, now it is time to enjoy some time with my family and recover! Thank you."

Sanchez also posted photos with the doctors in the hospital and X-rays of his broken elbow.

After the crash, he was taken to a hospital in La Roche-sur-Yon in the Pays de la Loire region of France.

The Spanish cyclist then returned to his home country to undergo surgery in the Molina De Segura hospital in the city of Murcia and has posted the gruesome photos of his elbow injury to social media.

Sanchez has previously won four stages at the Tour de France and is a four-time Spanish National Time Trial Champion.

This year's race has been riddled with a string of crashes that have left riders bloodied and bruised.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas leads the race going into the last six stages - after today's rest day - with defending champ Chris Froome in second place.

But Sky were left red-faced after one of their riders, Gianni Moscon, was kicked off the Tour after punching a fellow pro.