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TdF #1 Cav down and out

July 10, 2014

My work travels have frustrated my viewing of the tour, but now that I’m home it’s time to catch up with le tour. The early stages of the tour are always about avoiding crashes for the GC favourites. They are also usually sprint stages. However, Stage 1 this year was about Cavendish crashing with Gerrans near the line. It looked like they were both going for the same gap and were shoulder to shoulder fighting for it. Then their wheels and bars came together, along with the rider next to them (Coquard?), they all went down. Cav immediately looked in a lot of trouble. Later we heard that he had severe shoulder injuries and did not start Stage 2.

Giant Shimano and Kittel gave a superb show of how to win a sprint. They did not appear until very late, perhaps even in the last 2km. Lotto and OPQS were far more visible earlier. The last 2km were also very difficult for a sprint train to control. The ramps were steep and long enough to hurt the sprinters and their lead out men, that gave everyone else a chance. Cancellara tried to make the most of the hard course but was caught well before the line. Kittel had enough strength in the team for the lead and he made the final sprint look easy.

There are often signs of what is going on with the main competitions even on an early sprint stage. Froome finished 6th and was not too prominent, which indicates he is on really good form. Contador was also seen when important but did not seem too nervous. Purito Rodriguez was at the back most of the day, and even was dropped from the peleton, this suggests that he not going for the podium this year. Katusha does not have another obvious candidate for GC, so who knows what their plan is.

Sagan is hot favourite for green and is already collecting points. He grabbed a few in the intermediate (Kittel did not contest it) and was second on the line. So he is already in good position. If he keeps up those tactics, he is likely to win the green jersey by miles.

Stage 2 is a much harder stage for the sprinters. It is unlikely that Kittel can hold onto yellow, unless the peleton takes it easy.

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