7.07.2014

Tour de France 3: A Long ALLEZ till London

Andy Schleck fell coz of a spectator...
A no story stage, flat and straight till the center of London, then a tricky sprint
But the story once again is the crowd: riders say they couldn't hear anything in their radio because of the continous roaring from beside the road. The road was alive and roaring, till the start to the finish. From the sun to the rain. During the long break-away of Barta and Bideau, during the madness of the long sprint in the city, trains forming and disrupting, people everywhere, and finally at the finish. 
A long "Allez!", "Go!", "Keep on!", "Viva!". Passion. Love. A scary excitement, many avoided crashes and twice down. A man was standing down the sidewalk to take a picture, a Sky rider hit him, suddenly braking and stopping, Andy Schleck fell but he's back on his bike. A risky game
The second crash happens at the sprint but we see nothing of it: just the powerful progression of Marcel Kittel. Nobody could even try to pass him. But Sagan was second and keeps the Green Jersey. Second also at the intermediate sprint where the young Coquard won. He was 4th in London. Keep an eye on him.
The big city, black and gray, the big river running toward the cold sea, intricated urban geometries, a yellow tube vagon with written "Va va Froome!". We are not going to forget the Grand Depart from England and I guess that England is not going to forget the Tour.
Tomorrow... France.


Marcel Kittel:

"No words for today. I feel so honored to have this amazing team around me! A perfect leadout & sprint! This is how team sport looks like!!"

Danny van Poppel: 
“It was a very hectic with a lot of rain in the last part. I heard a crash and I think Andy was in that. I was sitting perfect and I was waiting for the sprint. I was sitting in good wheels, but then riders came on the left and I was boxed in. I was waiting for it to open so I could do my sprint. I passed maybe 3-4 riders in the last 100 meters. I’ve got a lot of power and I was waiting to use it…it’s not a bad result for the Tour.” 

Jürgen Roelandts: 
"From the start on we were riding quite in front of the bunch. Throughout the stage the peloton controlled the race. Also in the final everybody of the team was present. Only a pity we couldn't enter the last kilometer together. In the heat of the moment André Greipel lost the wheel and he couldn't take his chance. It rained at the end and that made the final more dangerous. Tomorrow we get a new chance in the stage to Lille. We will try to grab it with both hands. I'm glad I got out of this English start in one piece. Because of the massive crowds along the English roads it was dangerous these past days. Also today it was hectic again. You had to watch out and especially stay concentrated to avoid crashing. Spectators that take pictures on the middle of the road, narrow roads and a deafening noise can give dangerous situations. Luckily the team got out undamaged."

Andy Schleck:
"I was really unlucky in this moment, it was not even raining at this point! I came from the back and this guy moved from left to right and I went into his back wheel. The roads are rough and I lost a bit of skin on the arms, knee, hips and ribs, but I think it will be okay. It was a dangerous finish, there were crashes and gaps in the peloton - guys were sitting up with 5kms to go. We have to see if we come good over the next days, and then in the climbs everything can change.”

Fränk Schleck: 
"We started well. It was a nice, quiet easy day and we just had to follow; the sprinters would take care of it. We knew it would go very fast in the end, but that is never a problem. But with the rain the roads were slippery and some crashes and with three kilometers to go some riders in front of me let a gap open. I was gapped off and I tried to sprint but I could not close the gap.  It was my fault – I was not in the front enough. It just goes to show there is no easy day in the Tour de France. What can I say? That’s how it is.”

Vincenzo Nibali:
“It was very nervous in the finale with the rain, but we got there. But the most important stages have still to come and the road is still long.”

Chris Froome:
“It was a tough stage there in the final and tricky coming into London. There was a lot of road furniture but again there were just massive, massive crowds out there. We did get a little bit wet in the final but I suppose it wouldn’t have been a British start without a bit of rain! The big thing was to just get through the stage – don’t lose any time and hopefully don’t have any incidents along the way. It was a good day for us and we’re three days into the Tour now. It’s quite a good feeling. I think tomorrow we can expect a day pretty similar to today – another case of just getting through it – but on stage five we hit the cobbles and that’s definitely going to be quite a shake-up. Literally.”

RESULTS
STAGE
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
6 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
7 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
8 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement
10 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing TeamGC


GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 13:31:13
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:02
3 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge

4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

............
44 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:21
45 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
46 John Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team
47 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling
.........
56 Andy Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:24

Green Jersey
Sagan 
Polka Dot Jersey
Lemoine 
White jersey
Sagan
TEAM
Team Sky

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