Tour de France 4: Derailed Trains

Christopher Froome chute au début l'étape 4
Transfert stage? sprinters' stage? flat, anomymous, boring. But riders make the race and it was thrilling, unespected, hard.
Andy Schleck warmed up trying to win the pain but must give up and didn't start. Thomas Voeckler decided to give some extra show, with Mate then solo. 
Few kms and Chris Froome fell: in the bunch, touched, he couldn't avoid to go down. Both wrists in pain, all body bruised.
Team Cannondale thought to add some spiece and attacked on the intermediate sprint: paved descent, cross wind. The peloton split. Kwiatowski caught behind and forced to chase with all the team.
And finally Lille: dangerous crossing the big city, sprinters' trains forming and disrupting, derailing to the finish. Half Lotto down, Enderson retired. Peter Sagan got a flat, flying back to grab Kittel's wheel, shoulder against shoulder with Greipel, forced to give up. Demare from nowhere, Kristoff 2nd and angry, Coquard 5th and Danny Van Poppel 8th. Marcel Kittel won but this time he had to fight hard. Two Italians in the top 10: Cimolai and Oss (good sign). The rain that fell on the road and made it wet.
Stressing day. And tomorrow it's going to risky.

Marcel Kittel:
“It was high speeds for the final 30km today, really fast and this made it difficult to stay together. We still came into the final few kilometres in a good position and the guys dropped me off at the front in the wheels. All I could think about was the last corner. We had studied the stage before with the coaches and knew that after the bend it was 250m to go. I nearly went then but held back and then went after the corner to get over to Kristoff. I had to go from a long way out but I managed to get past before the line.”

Peter Sagan:
“I am happy for fourth place. I did a good sprint in the middle of the stage. I crashed, a little bit my fault, I take a bad way around a corner. Tomorrow, the race will be a little different. Maybe the race for general classification will make the race different than Paris-Roubaix. We’ll see. It will be dangerous for sure. I hope we have a lot of luck tomorrow.”

Haimar Zubeldia: 
“There was cross-tailwind in this moment and there was a split but Markel was with me in this moment and we came back in a few kilometers. Kwiatkowski was in the group behind us. His team [OPQS] waited for him and brought him back. Especially this year these sprints stages have been short but very nervous for the peloton. Tomorrow we will also have a special day and we will see what happens.”

Danny van Poppel: 
“I did not feel good today. I sprinted to 8th and I did not expect that. I was really only thinking about finishing the race. In the last kilometer I was sitting in good position, it was in one line, very fast, and when they started the sprint I had nothing left. But only Greipel passed me so I guess I was not so bad. I do miss Boy, but I had a lot of help from Markel and Greggy and Fabian during the race to shelter me from the wind and get me feeds. The support I have from the team is great; it’s just nice to have my brother around, and I miss that. I am happy to fend for myself at the end and make the best out of it. That is not a problem.”

Fabian Cancellara : 
“There are so many things that can change from one sector to another tomorrow. When it’s wet, it’s like roulette - it’s not about who is good on the bike anymore. In some ways it’s nice to have [cobbles], but in some ways it is not good to have it. We are a big bunch and we already saw today that when we going into the towns with the traffic islands and so on, it’s dangerous. Cycling has to change, and we will see - after tomorrow maybe this will be addressed. Tomorrow is totally different [from Roubaix]. It will be a special situation. Remember in 2010 with Frank Schelck, he was in 4th position and it was dry and warm and he lost his Tour there as a rider took him out. The circumstances are different, there are two races going on, where in Roubaix there is only one race. In Roubaix you have one team for yourself, and here there will be different teams with different set-ups. Plus with the bad weather that is on the map at the moment, it’s gonna be a disaster.  It’s gonna be chaos - totally. Whether cobbles should be here is a good question. It’s the ASO’s decision – they want to have a show tomorrow. But maybe after tomorrow we will have a history day in cycling where everything will change around. When it’s nice weather cobbles are not bad, but for tomorrow? Really I don’t know - maybe I will laugh tomorrow, or maybe I will cry. Ask me tomorrow after the race and I can answer that question. Who has done Roubaix on wet roads? I don’t think there is anyone in the peloton who has. Even for me, I am a specialist in cobbles, and the rain is another circumstance. There are only 10-15 guys that really know how to ride so fast over the cobbles, but we are in the Tour. It’s not Roubaix and its not April.”

Bauke Mollema: 
“I’m not seriously injured, I only have a few scrapes. I can handle a crash like this. I had already passed another crash, but ten metres later, when I was accelerating again, a rider in front of me suddenly went down. I sat tight in his wheel and when he hit the tarmac there was no way around for me. Stage 5. is a key stage, a dangerous one, especially with the possibility of rain. I’m not afraid, tough. In dry circumstances, it would have been an important day, as well. We have a strong team suited for tomorrow’s stage. We reconned it earlier this year and know the strategic points.”

Tour de France race doctor Florence Pommerie:
“We didn’t see a very, very big thing. We don’t know really if there is something important or not. He doesn’t seem to have anything [fractured] or, if there is something, it could be very, very small. So we decided to wait, to immobilise him, because there is no big thing on the radio [x-ray]. But sometimes we don’t see anything because the wrist is a very special place. We decided just to wait for a few days, until tomorrow, because tomorrow will be a good test [with the cobbles]. If the pain is still there or worse, maybe we will make a new x-ray or scan.Because there is not a big fracture, [there is] not something you can see directly and say he has to stop. There is some pain. It is not so much, but it is on the wrist. So that is why for tomorrow the pain could be worse.”
http://cyclingtips.com.au/2014/07/tour-de-france-doctor-no-obvious-fracture-for-froome-but-cobbles-will-decide/ )

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
3 Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ.fr

4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
5 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
6 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
7 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
8 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 17:07:52
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:02
3 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge

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

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