Everyone in the Tour de France fell down and broke their necks yesterday. After choking down giant plates of pasta, enduring some massages, and managing a few hours of sleep, they will all be back on their bikes today for even more wipeouts and compound fractures on the cobblestoned farm lanes of northern France.
For Lance Armstrong fans, there’s little to report other than he’s still kicking everyone’s ass, even if some Frenchman is somehow in the yellow jersey.
Now, on to what the cycling press has to say …
Sylvain Chavanel‘s breakaway victory — and yellow jersey — is really an inspirational story, explains Cycling Weekly’s Andy McGrath. Chavenel had suffered a fractured skull in the classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege race in the spring, which goes over some of the same climbs used in yesterday’s Tour stage.
Ron Callahan reports that what caused yesterday’s mayhem was a single rider falling on a breakaway that caused a motorcycle to crash and subsequently spill oil on an already slick sloping roadway.
When the main pack came along later, that mix of slope, oil, and rain put down about 60 riders, some of them main contenders for the overall race.
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara took it upon himself to organize a group protest among riders that allowed his teammates, Andy and Frank Schleck to catch up before the finish.
But one rider, at least, wasn’t so happy with Cancellara’s ad hoc rule-bending. As Cyclingnews.com reports, Norweigian sprinter Thor Hushovd was livid…
“I’m very sorry for the riders who crashed. It was a big mess. But yet, this is still a bike race. Crashes happen all the time. It’s been a really big mistake from ASO and the UCI commissaires to agree to neutralise the end of the stage. The Tour de France is a big, big race. Things like that shouldn’t happen.”
“Why should Cancellara decide?,” the Norwegian questioned. “He’s a rider like us.” Hushovd and the Cervélo team were one of the few to not accept the decision of the yellow jersey to wait for some injured riders and then to prevent the sprint for second place from being contested.
Expect another spectacle in today’s stage to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut: riders will probably have less trouble with sections of cobblestones themselves than the jockeying for position that will occur as those sections near.
Stage 2 results: 1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), 2. Maxime Bouet (Fra), 3. Fabian Wegmann (Ger), 4. Robbie McEwen (Aus), 5. Christian Knees (Ger)
Overall standings: 1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), 2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), 3. Tony Martin (Ger), 4. David Millar (GBr), 5. Lance Armstrong (USA)
The overall favorites, trailing Lance Armstrong: Alberto Contador (5 seconds), Cadel Evans (17s), Carlos Sastre (32s), Ivan Basso (33s), Brad Wiggins (34s), Frank Schleck (35s), Andy Schleck (47s), Christian Vande Velde (Out, broken collarbone)
Yellow jersey (overall leader): Sylvain Chavanel (Fra)
Green jersey (points leader): Sylvain Chavanel (Fra)
Polka dot jersey (mountains): Jérôme Pineau (Fra)
White jersey (best young rider): Tony Martin (Ger)