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Tour de France – Week 1 | Crashes, Cobbles And Coke

The opening week of the Tour De France has been as exciting as fans of the sport had hoped. The race started in the Netherlands with an individual time trial, a peloton and a team time trial which has rolled into today’s rest day. The overriding memory of the tour so far are the crashes; particularly several on Stage 3 which even halted the race temporarily.

Here is how the first week panned out over the opening nine stages, as yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome relaxes in the more than capable hands of Team Sky.

Stage 1 – Utrecht (13.8km – Individual Time Trial)

Winner – Rohan Dennis (AUS – BMC Racing)

There was a surprise in the opening stage of the tour around Utrecht in the individual time trial. Aussie Dennis took the honours ahead of the more established time trial riders in the race to give his team BMC Racing a real boost. German Tony Martin took second, with Fabian Cancellara in third.

Stage 2 – Utrecht to Zelande (166km)

Winner – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

Yellow – Fabian Cancellara (SUI – Trek Factory Racing)

Green – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

White – Tom Dumoulin (NED – Team Giant Alpecin) 

A stage that had wonderful views, as does most of the tour, but the finish to this one in Zelande was pretty special. It ended in a sprint contested by the main protagonists but German Andre Geipel took first blood with a strong finish. Fabian Cancellara did enough to take the jersey away from Rohan Dennis but this was a stage that set the tone for the race as Etixx-Quick Step took advantage of the cross winds and split the race up.

Stage 3 – Anvers to Huy (159.5km)

Winner – Joachim Rodriguez Oliver (SPA – Team Katusha)

Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)

Green – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

Polkadot – Joachim Rodriguez Oliver (SPA – Team Katusha)

White – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

Another stage with a great finish on an incline, but, it was a high speed crash that took the headlines. In fact, the race was neutralised on three separate occasions due to safety concerns. When the race was finally permitted to get going again without interruption, the sight of the big names fighting to get away from the peloton was terrific viewing. Spaniard Rodriguez took the plaudits in a win that led to him claiming the polkadot jersey. Brit Chris Froome took over in the yellow jersey as Cancellara was involved in that sickening crash that involved over thirty riders in the tour.

Stage 4 – Seraing to Cambrai (221.5km)

Winner & Yellow – Tony Martin (GER – Etixx-Quick Step)

Green – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

Polkadot – Joachim Rodriguez Oliver (SPA – Team Katusha)

White – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

Germany’s Tony Martin finally claimed the yellow jersey after narrowly missing out twice already in this tour. He took it upon himself this time with an impressive break from the group in the latter stages to clinch it. It was made and even more special feat considering he had a problem with his own bike and actually finished the race on one he borrowed from a team-mate! The stage full of cobbled sections, and the longest of the tour, did not cause too many problems for the riders this year – which was a refreshing sight after the big crash we had witnessed.

Stage 5 – Arras Communaute Urbaine to Amiens Metropole (189.5km)

Winner – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

Yellow – Tony Martin (GER – Etixx-Quick Step)

Green – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

Polkadot – Joachim Rodriguez Oliver (SPA – Team Katusha)

White – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

Another win over Sagan for big German sprinter Greipel who has certainly found his form in the opening stages of the tour. For the third stage in succession there was no change to either of the green, polkadot or white jerseys. Martin retained the yellow jersey for a second time by enduring a stage full of crosswinds and crashes.

Stage 6 – Abbeville to Le Harve (191.5km)

Winner – Zdnek Stybar (CZE – Etixx-Quick Step)

Yellow – Tony Martin (GER – Etixx-Quick Step)

Green – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

Polkadot – Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI – MTN Qhubeka)

White – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

A decent showing so far for Etixx-Quick Step as their Czech rider Stybar snuck away from the group in the latter stages as the teams battled to get their sprinters in order. A crash on the run-in involving a handful of riders had an effect, but more so on the yellow jersey, as it would be Tony Martin’s final appearance in the race this year as he suffered a collar bone injury. It was a blow to fellow Etixx-Quick Step rider Mark Cavendish as this is one that he would have noted down as a potential win, but, even he could take nothing away from his team-mate. Taking the place of Rodriguez in the polkadot jersey was Eritrea rider Daniel Teklehaimanot which was a historic moment for the African rider.

Stage 7 – Livarot to Fougeres (190.5km)

Winner – Mark Cavendish (GBR – Etixx-Quick Step)

Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)

Green – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto-Soudal)

Polkadot – Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI – MTN Qhubeka)

White – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

Finally getting the win he wanted at the tour this year was Mark Cavendish in a battle to the finish on a slight incline. He out fought green jersey wearer Greipel to secure the stage win ahead of Sagan in what was the third of the tour for his team. Froome retained the yellow jersey after he lost it to Martin in Stage 4.

Stage 8 – Rennes to Mur-de-Bretagne (181.5km)

Winner – Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA – AG2R La Mondiale)

Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)

Green – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

Polkadot – Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI – MTN Qhubeka)

White – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

A day to celebrate for the home fans as French rider Vuillermoz was a popular stage winner. It made him the first home rider this year to win a stage and it was an excellent solo effort to finish ahead of Cannondale-Garmin rider Dan Martin. There was no change in the green jersey as Greipel lost out to Sagan who managed to retain the white jersey as well.

Stage 9 – Vannes to Pluelec (28km – Team Time Trial)

Winner – BMC Racing Team

Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)

Green – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

Polkadot – Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI – MTN Qhubeka)

White – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)

The final stage of week before the rest day was a team event. While there were no changes in the leaders jerseys, the stage was won by BMC Racing. American rider Teejay van Garderen was close to claiming the yellow jersey but Team Sky did enough to protect their GC Froome. There were several time gaps created; reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali now finds himself outside the top ten, 2 minutes 22 seconds behind the leader, which he will be looking to make up in the mountain stages. Alberto Contador will feel the same as he is a little over a minute behind. Colombian Quintana is a second under two minutes from Froome.

Overall Classification (top ten riders)

  1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 31h 34′ 12″
  2. Teejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) +00′ 24″
  3. Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) +00′ 27″
  4. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) +00′ 38″
  5. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) +01′ 03″
  6. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Etixx-Quick Step) +01′ 18″
  7. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar team) +01′ 50″
  8. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +01′ 52″
  9. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) +01′ 59″
  10. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) +01′ 59″

tdf_luca_paoliniThe only disappointing news from a week of racing is Italian cyclist Luca Paolini tested positive for cocaine on Tuesday and expelled from the race. The 38 year old Team Katusha rider may request a B sample but his press release was rather odd. While he thanked family and friends he took a parting shot at his critics. Unfortunately, this has given those critics more ammunition than they ever hoped for.

 

Week Two – What Should We Expect?

The rest day will be much needed for the riders but if you think they sit around doing nothing then you are sadly mistaken. You will see most of them out riding a few kilometres just to keep their muscles in check as Stage 10 on Bastille Day is the first mountain stage.

Those climbers in the peloton that have endured a tough week, as have all, to get to this point will relish the sight of the Pyrenees which lasts until Stage 13 (Friday) which is expected to end with a sprint into Rodez. The route across the Pyrenees takes in Col de Soudet, Col d’Aspin and the famous Col du Tourmalet (Stage 11 – Wednesday). There will be three more stages until the final rest day on the Tuesday making this section of the race seven stages in total.

Those that are left in the race and in contention for the several jerseys on offer will be feeling a little confident if they can just get through the Alps stages in week three.

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Writer Info about JayC

Jay is the founder and editor of Palace fan site The Eagles Beak. He is also a regular guest on the EPL Roundtable podcast. Jay has been a Palace fan since the late eighties and is a current season ticket holder. A fan of too many other sports as well as a passion for music. Former athlete, footballer and attempted bobsledder.

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