Stage One of the Tour is usually a long ride, not terribly challenging technically, and is intended to launch everyone into the grueling event. It’s not supposed to be a big deal stage, more a chance for everyone to settle in and get the timing right and shake out the jitters.
But sometimes the early stages are a big deal. Last year sprinter Peter Sagan elbowed sprinter Mark Cavendish into the barriers during the final seconds of Stage Four. Cavendish was badly injured and could not continue, and Sagan was disqualified and also had to leave the race — although that disqualification was later overturned when the thrown elbow was deemed not intentional.
Stage One of this year’s Tour was surprising in that it had a number of crashes — mostly in places where it didn’t look like professional riders would crash. The sprinters survived, but big names like Chris Froome were involved in crashes and fell back. Froome is 62 seconds off the lead, which in professional cycling is a lot.
The saving grace may be that other riders who have a chance to win the yellow jersey also had problems and opened up a gap. Froome lost time against the sprinters, but not so much against his direct competitors for the overall win.
Sunday is Day 2. I’m riveted. Archie likes the Tour too — he and Matt stopped over for awhile on Saturday afternoon. Archie has already picked Team Sky — Froome’s team — as the eventual winner and Froome as the guy who winds up with the yellow jersey. 🙂