QuickStep, you have to respect them. They lost Cav but they’ve been contesting the sprints as if he was still here, with Renshaw grabbing places of honour. And today again Kwiatkowski was there in the finale – yesterday he tried a ‘long one’ for himself, today he set it up beautifully for Matteo Trentin.
Patrick Lefevre has seen it all; a good pro himself, he won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in his day, he manages to run a glossy, modern team which at the same time doesn’t forget that the sport belongs to the people.
A great day for QuickStep – at last – but the team press releases in general made for sad reading.
It was a bad day for BMC; as well as Tejay van Garderen losing time in a crash they lost their star mountains domestique, Darwin Atapuma.
“BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said X-rays and a CT scan revealed a fracture of Atapuma’s distal femur.
“‘It is a non-displaced fracture but it is intra-articular, so most likely it will require some surgery,’ Dr. Testa said. We hope to have an orthopedic specialist do the procedure tomorrow.
“Based on the outcome, we will decide the rehab program and the timing for him to go back on the bike in a few weeks.”
Atapuma was competing in his first Tour de France and sitting in 88th place overall when he went down in a pile-up along with teammate Tejay van Garderen with 16 kilometers to go in Friday’s 234.5-km race.
Things were no better at Swiss Pro Continental IAM:
IAM Cycling ran hot and cold on the 7th stage of the Tour de France. Though Sylvain Chavanel took a good 8th place and Martin Elmiger was voted the most combative rider after powering a break for more than 200 kilometers, IAM Cycling suffered the loss of Mathias Frank who ended his day in the hospital.
“The 27 year old Frank fell in the last corner, just 800 meters from the finish along with several other riders. Severely wounded in his left hip, the IAM Cycling leader still found the courage to get up and finish the stage before being shown to the Tour de France mobile medical clinic and then to the CHUR in Nancy.
“The hospital scanner detected the fracture in the left proximal femur.”
Belkin’s great day with Boom, on the cobbles was forgotten as this one came in from the Dutch team:
“Stef Clement abandoned on Friday after a crash. The Dutchman felt light-headed right afterwards, but luckily a scan in the hospital didn’t show any head trauma.
“He suffered abrasions on his elbow and shoulder. ‘I was alongside Stef when it happened,’ Tankink said. ‘He crashed all by himself and landed right on his head, and sat there for a while – I knew things weren’t good. We’re going to miss him a lot. He was here to work for our leaders in the mountains and the first real hills come in the next few days, when his Tour was supposed to start. This is very unfortunate and sad.'”
Trek too were hit, with up and coming sprinter, young Danny Van Poppel headed back to the Netherlands.
NettApp-Endura’s Paul Voss was another to suffer; Stage Seven rewarded him with a broken nose and finger – it remains to be seen if he’ll start Stage Eight.
The highest profile crash of the day however, was that of Garmin’s Andrew Talansky who hit the deck in the finish line melee.
Talansky was quick to turn on Simon Gerrans and say the blame lay with the Aussie but if you watch the video of the finish you’ll see the American look to his right just before the tangle with the GreenEdge rider.
For all Talansky’s obvious talent he’s not used to this type of situation – tangling with the ‘death or glory’ guys – and one split second’s inattention is all that’s needed for disaster to strike.
But why all the crashes?
The Tour is the biggest race in the world, the riders will tell you that everything is amplified, the crowds, the speed, the Media and the stress.
Every team, every rider has an agenda which they must try their damndest to adhere to; the individual or even the team’s future may depend upon a good performance on the roads of France in July.
Risks get taken with the inevitable winners and losers as a consequence.
And disappointment again for Peter Sagan as he takes a remarkable seventh consecutive top five finish – and if we might borrow a stat from CyclingNews:
“Sagan’s second place makes him the first rider since Charles Pélissier in 1930 to finish in the top five in the first seven individual stages.”
Sagan now leads Coquard by 113 points in the green jersey contest – I do hope the man in green wins a stage; he’s a colourful maverick in a world of riders who measure their words and live by their SRM print-outs.
No L’Équipe, sorry; I did try – but I do have Saturday’s Daily Telegraph in front of me. It’s a good job my dad’s not here to see me reading a ‘Tory paper.’
VeloVeritas pundit, Ivan reckoned that as soon as le Tour exited Britannia the British Media coverage would tail off but in fairness, The Barclay Brothers’ prize possession gives the race a full page and a colour picture of Talansky’s Cervélo continuing on it’s merry way without it’s rider.
Les Vosges tomorrow and into the montagnes – two second cat. and a third cat. at 10% to finish.
Like the man said; ‘there are no easy days in le Tour.’