Ouch. What a tough day in the saddle for the boys, particularly Johnny Hoogerland… Everything was under control, with the break only a couple of minutes out in front, Thor getting over the climbs comfortably, and plenty of time to reel the break back in when BOOM! Zabriskie hit the deck, a couple of big hitters also went down from other teams (Kloden, Vino and VDB in particular) and there is a decision made to wait for everyone affected in the crash to catch back up. Hoogerland Crash Tour de France
By the time things were rolling again the break was out to 8 minutes, and it was always going to be tough to haul back in. If the yellow jersey holder was a climber, things would have been more feasible (although still difficult), but with Thor being on his limit getting over Cat. 2 climbs as it is, they just couldn’t take enough time quickly enough, and eventually LL Sanchez got the win, and Thomas Voeckler holds the yellow.
It’s a shocking moment when you’re working with a team and see a crash.
Selfishly, the first thought is always “I hope it’s not one of us” followed quickly (and more charitably) by “I hope whoever it is is ok.”
If it is one of your boys, you just have to wait for messages to come through from whoever is with the race once they find out (usually fending off tweets, texts and phone calls asking you for an update before you yourself know a thing). Yesterday was similar to Stage 2 of last year’s Tour where we lost what felt like three quarters of the team on one hill.
And the damage is not just physical: it puts a huge dampener on the whole team, and takes a lot out of the boys even if they’ve not lost any time.
And then there was THAT car accident.
It’s always massively terrifying to pass riders during the race — you’re so conscious of not hitting them, and of how many of them there are, and that they are not really paying any attention to you at all, so will not behave like cyclists on open roads.
That the car clipped a rider in the race is frankly no good. I’m sure the driver has copped a lot of heat from his boss already, and also feels like a heel, but that is as it should be.
Hoogerland (Johnny Breakaway as I’ve taken to calling him) is lucky to be alive, and to be even a chance of starting the stage after the rest day.
Hopefully the Tour has gotten all of the bad crashes out of it’s system for this year and all of the action and drama henceforth is a result of blokes doing amazing stuff on the road.
Bring on Stage 10!