The Tour De France is considered the race to end all races. It is 3 weeks long and on average travels approximately 2,000 miles over 21 days. Some days are better than others and some days are more dangerous than others. Most of the time the bad ones or dangerous ones come when there are dangerous descents, like the one in 1995 that cost Fabio Casartelli his life. Lance Armstrong was his teammate and tributes a lot of his success to wanting to make his great friend proud.
Todays stage was one of the dangerous ones. There were 5 major crashes that caused several riders to check out of the race on only the 3rd day. One man came home a winner though, Peter Sagan of Slovakia. He was able to outlast a surging peleton and hold on for his second victory in 3 days after winning the first stage. At 22 he is a rising star and these stage victories make him the youngest winner since Lance Armstrong won a stage at the age of 21 in 1993. He is also very flamboyant doing a “Forrest Gump” type celebration when he won.
“It’s a thing I’d discussed with my teammates about what kind of gesture I’d do on the line,” Sagan said of his Liquigas-Cannondale squad, “Everybody said, `Do a Forrest Gump’ because when he was told to run, he ran. And when I’m told to win, I win.”
Even though he won the race Fabian Canellara maintained the overall lead and still wears the yellow jersey.
We are in the first part of the tour so there aren’t expected to be any winners or losers made for another couple of days, but there are gaps that can form that have the ability for riders to make mistakes. The 2 category 3, and 2 category 4 climbs can catch people off guard and split the peleton. Look for the real action to start on stage 11 when we have our first HC climb, but that stage will be more about surviving because the finish is at the bottom of the mountain. Stage 12, the next day is grueling and will be where the favorites like the Schlek brothers and Cadel Evans will look to be near the top of the leader board.
Here is a rundown of the 5 crashes by Paul Sherwin and Phil Ligget of NBC Sports: