Cadel Evans stays upright
A weird, intriguing, but ultimately unsatisfying stage. Crashes late on separated the bunch, leading to significant time gaps and abandons. Half the peloton decking it isn’t the way you want to see the general classification take shape really.
It was nasty stuff. Moving at pace in the wet, merely touching the brakes appeared to be enough to topple a rider and then when one guy went over, everyone else started braking in a bid to avoid him creating an exponentially growing melée of limbs and bike frames. It was bloody awful stuff and there were multiple incidents.
They say that the key to staying safe is being strong enough to ride at the front, but on this stage ‘the front’ meant just the first eight riders. Everyone behind that was affected to some extent. Of the main contenders, Joaquim Rodriguez had the worst of it. With several broken ribs affecting his breathing and a broken thumb for good measure, he’s sadly had to abandon the race.
Rigoberto Uran, Domenico Pozzovivo and Ryder Hesjedal all lost 49 seconds. Nicolas Roche lost almost 16 minutes. In fact all the main contenders suffered, bar one – Cadel Evans.
Evans had a couple of team-mates up at the front following the decimation of the peloton. They pressed on, towing current race leader Michael Matthews with them as well. Matthews can sprint and took the opportunity to do so at the finish to take the win. However, he’ll be shedding that leader’s jersey as hastily as a fat British man on the first sunny day of the year come the mountains. Evans is the man in control here.
Pretty sprinty, I’d say. Nothing too serious along the way. Hopefully the weather improves.