Monday, July 5, 2010
Tour de France Stage 2 - Bikes down all over the place!
July 19th 2010: I originally published this article at Michael Holloway's BikingToronto Blog. I'm covering every stage race of the 2010 Tour de France there.
As I write this, the tour is up to stage 15. I've "Live Blogged" almost all of them - stages I haven't Live Blogged always get a race summery piece - plus I've written several interesting biographical sketches and some funny reviews of the race over all.
Have a look at Michael Holloway's BikingToronto Blog, "Tour de France" tagged articles.
Overall standings of all 193 riders.
The story today was once again, more crashes than we've ever seen in Tour de France. This time though it was not the wind (or the lack of it) that caused the carnage, it was intermittent rain, especially on the down hill side of a climb called the cote de Stockeu, the second last downhill, and the steepest of the stage.
Watch the video at this link (Versus won't allow embeds), at the 00:35 they go to Francesco Gavazzi of team Lampre who is just ahead of the peloton. The bike just shoots out from under him! If you watch closely he slides down the greasy road for what looks like about 6 metres! The camera bike behind him can't get traction to stop and steers off to the shoulder to avoid a collision.
As the Peloton hits the area riders trying to steer around go down and that's basically the end of the race for yellow.
I know from riding on city streets the roads are really slick when the rain is just beginning - especially after a prolonged hot, dry spell. I think the black top (which is essentially tar sands) percolates the oil that's in it (black top is a bi-product of gasoline refining) - and the oils sits on top. Add to that all the oil and grease dripping from the thousands of cars and trucks - and the first water that 'sheets' the road will have a thin layer of oil on top, because oil is lighter than water.
Now here comes the Peloton into a cloud burst and wham-mo! - bicycles all over the place.
Once while bike messengering, I was blasting east on King Street probably about 30 kph, and I took a wide corner north bound up Duncan Street, it had just started raining and I was scared, but I had a Direct on that was getting old. The bike came out from under me and as I was going down and I was thinking, 'Oh sh*t, here goes all the skin on my left side'. Happily, like on one of those water slides at an amusement park, I slid about 30 feet right up the centre of Duncan Street with oily warm water spraying in front, as my bike compassed off into the curb!
Not even a scratch. :]
Lance Armstrong said he was scared, "I think everyone was scared." he said.
Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) of team Quick Step made a sprint early to break away from the peloton - and today - it worked! Sylvain Chavanel wears the yellow jersey ... just for one day? The Versus commentators think he can hold it until the mountains on Saturday - what with his almost 3 minute lead on the next best time.
Leader board courtesy Tour de France site.
Tour de France Riders list of starters: