A Veteran Win On A Nervous Day

Jul 4 2010

Garmin-Transitions pulls the fieldWhen the early stretches of today’s Stage 1 passed without incident—save the practically obligatory errant canine—some commentators seemed to settle into the notion that the long-anticipated crashes on the always thrilling (and extremely crowded) Dutch and Belgian roadways would not materialize.

But beyond the calm facade were warning signs of the carnage to come. A three-man breakaway gained and lost times in wild clumps as various sprinters’ teams rolled to the front of the peloton and fell back suddenly as the gap became too small. Domestiques’ ears featured heavily in the live photos as heads swiveled to keep nervous eyes on the competition alongside them.

Tough to pin down a moment when the floodgates finally opened—a few lower speed crashes began to bubble up in the field after the pack entered Belgium, and Moldovan champion Alexandre Pliuschin lead the break through a sweeper in a two wheel skid just before being caught.

I guess the moment where the race went “Texas” came when Mark Cavendish became more interested in winning shoving match with a Lampre rider than following his leadout train through a hairpin at two KM to go. Both riders went down, and tied up Oscar Freire in their wake.

A few seconds later, just inside the red kite, a tumble happened behind the sprinters that brought the bulk of the field to a stop, leaving a group of roughly fifteen to contest the stage. A makeshift leadout of Garmin, Cervelo and Lampre riders kept things from getting too crazy, but as Petacchi made his decisive burst for the line another crash occurred.

I haven’t seen chopper footage, or anything clear enough to get a good idea of what happened, but I will say that it’s awfully hard to end up with another rider’s bike around your rear derailleur when everyone is adhering to UCI Rule 2.3.036. Chalk Petacchi’s win up to battling for a perhaps windier position that allowed him to dictate his own course and timing in what was likely to be a very chaotic final surge to the line.

12 Responses to “A Veteran Win On A Nervous Day”

  1. CK July 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Petacchi was well clear of the field when he whipped from right to left. He was just going for position, otherwise he could have ran straight into the back of Lancaster. I would like to see what the hell Farrar and Mondory were up to though…

    Also, CN’s write-up of the stage was absolutely horrendous almost like they got their info from some twitter pages and not by actually watching any video.

  2. DF July 4, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Exactly, CK. It’s like CN wasn’t even trying.

  3. Arjan Hulsebos July 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    Well, with regards to the Mondory/Farrar incident, it looks like it’s caused by Jurgen Roelandts, who is on the far right just before the barriers start to narrow the passage. He seems to take his left hand off the bars, and makes some rather violent moves with the bike. Next thing you see is a loose foot from a crashing Mondory. After he’s separated from his bike, the bike bounces into Farrar’s derailleur. Crazy stuff….

  4. Touriste-Routier July 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    From what I saw, Petacchi was clear when he swung from one side of the road to the other, but the problem was ALMOST everyone else followed his swing, with the result being Mondry, who was out of phase with the rest, hitting the deck after being taken out by the radical shift, with Farrar claiming a used Kuota as his consolation prize

  5. DJ July 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    It seems that Petacchi, given his recent TdS as well as today’s win, has rule #1 of modern sprinting down – stay well out of Cavendish’ path and good things may come your way.
    Class sprint bu Petacchi and ridiculous pile-up behind. I thought narrowing the road in the last km was something typical for the Giro, but it seems ASO is trying to emulate the excitement that this year’s Giro brought.

  6. Coramoor July 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    The narrowing was really stupid, no need for it and that could;ve been brutal for the prestige of the race if one of the top contenders went down hard in it

    Cavendish was really stupid, he gets into a massive fight with one of the cervelo lead out men and ends up taking down another cervelo and oscar friere, completely ending his sprint chances

    @Touriste

    I have to disagree, after watching the only video I could find of the race multiple times, it looks like farrar just runs over the ag2r rider without actually making sure he had room to do so

  7. rainbow July 5, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    If you don’t watch the first week of a tour for the crashes I feel you some how kinda miss the point, first week is survivors week for GC riders, and how they manage to survive it is the master class in cycle racing
    But good news, yes the dog survived!, Cav will get to ride again tomorrow!!, maybe not the delicate cat, O.F! (what could that stand for?). Why can I still hear The CavanDouches voice from Velocast 82 Bashing Bush http://www.velocast.co.uk/podcasts/episode-82-bashing-bush “uknoe “I’m a safe sprinter, youknowe” “like u no” blablablaa. Cav. mouths off again! this time before (and after) his actions make a monkey of him.
    The best part of today’s coverage for me was the new side ride view of the sprint. Petacchi was like a pent up cheetah, mouth agape. Great idea from the ASO putting a barriered moto lane beside the sprinters, chapeau to le tour for providing another new view for this great race, i can wait to see some more intense sprint coverage tonight. I also can’t wait for more losing action from the mouth without brains over the next few days too.

  8. Arjan Hulsebos July 5, 2010 at 5:42 am #

    @Coramoor: Mondory is already going down when Farrar comes into view, and only then Farrar veers to his left.

  9. Touriste-Routier July 5, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Looks can be deceiving, and it looks like we all got it somewhat wrong, though Arjan Hulsebos got most of it right. Nothing like hearing what happened “first” hand:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/mondory-explains-sprint-mishap

  10. Arjan Hulsebos July 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    So, in the final analysis, this is more a racing incident than an infringement of UCI Rule 2.3.036.

    The question that remains: what caused the big pile-up just before?

  11. conifer July 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    On another note, anyone have any thoughts on the VS Tour Tracker vs. other online feed options? I’m in New Orleans for the summer, where apparently VS the tv channel does not exist (and they seem to have wizened up and made their online video library a pain a half to navigate).

  12. ed hardy bags July 8, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    It seems that Petacchi, given his recent TdS as well as today’s win, has rule #1 of modern sprinting down – stay well out of Cavendish’ path and good things may come your way.

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