2013 Tour de France-Stage 1

29 Jun

Chaos and crashes.

The first stage of the 100th Tour de France, the greatest race in pro cycling, was much like the current state of professional cycling: chaotic.

For starters there was the Orica-GreenEdge team bus getting stuck at the finish line. First time the Tour has been disrupted by a bus, I believe.

Tour-de-France---Orica-Gr-008[1]

Because of the busted bus/finish line the Tour decided to quickly move the finish. Team cars and riders were informed of the change on the fly – and at this point the peloton was flying. They were only about 15 kilometers from the finish, about the time the sprinters teams were coming to the front to crank things up and position their sprinter.

At the last minute though the bus was moved and Tour officials decided to go back to the original finish. Again the riders were told through their ear pieces  while going around 40 mph. Not good. It was a bad decision in my mind. Once the finish was changed they should have stuck with it, although I can understand why they made the decision they did.

Not only was it the first stage of the 100th Tour, but also one of the very few times a sprinter gets the yellow jersey in addition to the stage victory.

Mark Cavendish (Quick Step), Andre Greipel (Lotto), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) all were imagining themselves in yellow. Although all had a chance to win and capture the leader’s jersey, Cavendish was definitely the favorite. Cavendish has worn green, but never yellow, and he’s possibly the best sprinter ever.

Instead of watching the fastest maneuver and sprint for the win and the yellow jersey, we watched them get taken out by a crash. All of the commotion with finish line changes surely played a part. Regardless of the cause, it was awful. What a horrible start to the 100th edition of the Tour de France. Cavendish was caught out in the crash, Sagan went down and was banged up, Greipel had a mechanical. Instead of having one of the most memorable starts to the Tour we had a chaotic scramble to the line and carnage behind.

Carnage is becoming a theme for the Tour de France.

Trying to minimize the damage, Tour officials awarded all finishers the same finishing time. In addition to the sprinters involved in the crash, Tour favorite and previous winner, Alberto Contador went down and injured his shoulder as did others.

A disappointing finish to what we all expected to be a spectacular one. A disappointing beginning to the Tour.

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