Crashes, Go Slows and the Patron

Today’s Stage 2 of the Tour de France was unorthodox to say the least. Again, as they did yesterday, crashes animated the stage. Race favourites Wiggins, Contador, Kreuziger, Armstrong, both Schlecks, Basso, and Vande Velde all fell victim to the slippy roads in the wet conditions. By far the worst affected G.C. favourite was Christian Vande Velde who finished 5:53 down on the yellow jersey group.

Both Schlecks also found themselves chasing back on after crashing twice within 200 metres. Luckily, their team mate Fabian Cancellara was wearing the yellow jersey. As the acting patron of the peloton he forced the front of the race practically to a stand still so that the fallen could catch back up. This well intentioned act from Cancellara resulted in him relinquishing his hold on the yellow jersey to Sylvain Chavanel who was busy up the road soloing home for the stage win. A particularly selfless act given the circumstances, as Cancellara’s ultimate goal for this year’s Tour was to wear the Maillot Jaune as the race rides over the cobbles on Stage 3. My question is whether Cancellara had the authority to enforce this decision on (what remained of) the peloton. ~ Continue reading ~

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Tour de France Stats Overload

The Tour de France finally gets underway in Rotterdam tomorrow. I’m a sucker for poring over lists of statistics and unearthing bits of cycling trivia. As such, here’s a rundown of a few records which may be be equalled or broken in the coming weeks as the Tour thunders through the Netherlands, Belgium, the Alps and the Pyrene├ęs on its way to Paris.

The favourite to win the Tour de France this year is Alberto Contador. Should the Spaniard don the yellow jersey in Paris he will join Philippe Thys, Louison Bobet and Greg LeMond on three overall victories. After Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault, Contador will become the third youngest rider to make it to three Tour wins. ~ Continue reading ~

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