For a day that was supposed to be a typical and somewhat dull stage, there was pandemonium, and the results are up in the air. Wow. More later.
The Tour took an interesting and exciting turn today as there were a multiplicity of crashes that took down many big name riders today. The crashes fragmented the peloton to such an extent, that those who avoided the crash and were not tete de la course, slowed down for as many as possible to catch up. That meant that those in the break away–especially Sylvain Chavanel, could cruise to easy victory and the Maillot Jaune.
To his credit, Fabu exerted the force of the yellow jersey and made the small lead group rise tempo until the big name could catch up. Fabu drifted back to one of the race director cars and had a chat with one of the officials–seemingly I think to allow everyone the same time and he then laid down the law, and persuaded the peloton to an uncontested finish (seen above). Some spectators booed, comments on the velo boards were negative, but the peloton was making a point: today’s stage was too dangerous. As the peloton slowly made their way to the finish line, one AG2R rider squeaked past the finish line ahead of the group, which raised Fabu’s ire–hence his raised hand. Spartacus sacrificed the jersey today for the sake of a principle, and for the sake of the overall GC, and probably also for the sake the Schlecks (his teammates) who were really messed up by today’s crash and far off the lead.
Who lost the Tour today? Christian Vande Velde, George Hincapie.
There were plenty of angry riders today. Levi Leipheimer bristled at Robbie Ventura on Versus when he suggested to Levi the crashes were an unfortunate incident. Levi called it riduculous and blamed race organizers. Then there’s Chris Horner:
“They put on a dangerous stage and so when they put it on like that, that’s the result they’ll get,” Horner told Cyclingnews. “They got all their drama on the descent and they lost it all at the finish and they got what they deserved. The only thing more stupid about this stage is the pro cycling federation and Cedric Vasseur for ever letting a stage like this exist in the first place. There’s no place in the Tour de France for a stage like this.”
At any rate, Chavanel did a great ride and Jerome Pineau captured the spots–two Frenchmen in jerseys. Tomorrow we hit the cobbles. WOW.