Final Thoughts on Stage 1~

5 Jul

If tomorrow is anything like today the Tour de France will resemble roller derby more than cycling.

Today was an anomaly in the number and severity of crashes but the first week of the Tour is always crash prone.

The crashes overshadowed a gutsy performance by Belgian rider Maarten Wynants with team Quick Step.  He and two other riders went out at the start in a breakaway (see the Primer below for cycling glossary), the other riders were caught eventually but Wynants managed to stay out until 8.5 kilometers from the finish.  He was rewarded for his gutty performance by being awarded the combative (aggressive) rider recognition for Stage 1.

No doubt the hoards of Belgium (and Dutch) fans crowded along the route helped to spur him on.  The fans had a different effect on the peloton, making an already nervous and twitchy group, more nervous and twitchy.  It was estimated there were over 1 million fans along the route today.

Of all the crashes today the one I find the most questionable and avoidable (except for the dog, but the dog didn’t know any better, Cav should have) was Cavendish losing his line and plowing into the rider to his left and then taking two more down.  And if that wasn’t enough, he then proceeds to hop on his bike and take off.  Oscar Freire who he took down in the crash had words with him at the finish line. 

Cavendish is getting a reputation for being reckless on the bike – he already had a reputation for being reckless at times with his mouth boasting that he can ride at 80 % and not get beat.  He is a huge talent but is young and cocky, he needs to learn to settle down and let his sprinting abilities do his talking.

There were more crashes today at the Tour de France than at a Nascar race.  It’s probably naive to expect there will be no crashes tomorrow but I hope there are fewer.

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No Responses to “Final Thoughts on Stage 1~”

  1. Tri Girl July 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    WOW- that sure was an exciting stage. Kind of like hockey, you always expect crashes (or fights, in hockey’s case) to happen the first week. Twitchy, nervous riders are trying to find their groove. Cavendish is definitely a cocky young man, tho.

  2. Susan July 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    Yes, it was and just when we thought it couldn’t get more exciting we had today’s! Holy moly!

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