Chris Froome has been given the all-clear to continue in the Tour de France after a bruising first day in France.

After coming through three days in Britain unscathed, the defending champion tumbled to the tarmac early on Tuesday after a touch of wheels in the peloton, but was able to continue before Giant-Shimano's Marcel Kittel took a third stage win out of four.

Froome, who also fell on his left side during June's Criterium du Dauphine, was sent for a precautionary X-ray after his wrist bore the brunt of the fall, but Team Sky announced late on Tuesday that the 29-year-old was okay to continue.

"I took a bit of a knock but I'm happy to make it through the day and get to the finish line without losing any time to my main competitors," Froome said.

"The bumps and scrapes are fine but I fell heavily on my wrist so I needed to get it checked out by the doctors. I'm really pleased that I've been cleared to race and I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike tomorrow."

Froome's joints will face a major test on Wednesday's fifth stage, the 155.5km route from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hinaut, which features nine cobbled sections totalling more than 15km.

"The wrist is painful and it's certainly not ideal going into tomorrow's cobbled stage - but I have a great team around me and we'll get through the next few days as best we can," he added.

"One of the riders in front of me overlapped the wheel of another rider and caught my front wheel. I didn't have time to react and I before I knew it I was on the ground. But that's bike racing and I'm pleased I'll be back on the race tomorrow."

Froome may not have lost time, but he dropped back from fifth to seventh in the overall rankings, behind Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Froome finished 42nd on the stage, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was 24th to retain the race leader's yellow jersey.

Nicolas Roche came in 50th in the same time as winner Kittel, and the Irishman remains in 25th place overall.

The Team Sky leader's wobble could be significant over the cobbles, where punctures are common, as his team support car will be delayed in reaching him.

The forecast wet weather will make the cobbled stage even trickier for the peloton as the Tour commemorates 100 years since the start of World War One.

Tuesday's stage was expected to be straightforward, but Froome's crash showed nothing can be taken for granted in the Tour.