2012 Tour de France - The First Week
Tour de Crash.
the stage. I can't help but wonder what would have been the outcome if all the sprinters had been present.
The Tour's stage 5 was quite honestly a yawner - but that's usually the case in the first week of the Tour. We had the usual scenario: four riders up the road with no hope, but with the purpose of getting some television time for their sponsors.
Before the riders rolled out of town a Dutch newspaper claimed that Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and Jonathan Vaughters had testified to USADA. This story gained more traction than it deserved due to the boring nature of the day's racing. Those names aren't new. Other than Vaughters, the other four names had taken themselves out of selection for the London Olympic Games - a huge clue that they were involved in the USADA investigation. The only other tidbit of "news" was that in exchange for testifying, the four would receive a reduced ban of six months starting in September or December - the two different dates are from two different sources.
Anyways, back to the Tour de France.
With ten kilometers remaining teams started to line up their trains. Team Sky had several riders at the front, but not to help Cavendish. More likely they learned from the other day's crash that it's better to keep your G.C. guy at the front for safety's sake. BMC was lined up on the other side of the road apparently using the same game plan as Sky.
While it was assumed that the quartet would be caught, the escapees didn't get that memo. Ten kilometers to go and they were still ahead of the peloton. Five kilometers they still had a lead. Three kilometers it was still a handful of seconds, but still leading.
With less than two km to go the Cofidis rider Jan Ghyselinck attacked and looked like he might take the stage. Nipping at his heels was the Lotto-Belisol train which was leading it out for Greipel.
With about 400 meters to the line the peloton absorbed the final breakaway rider - a flagging Euskaltel-Euskadi rider who had overhauled Ghyselinck and was probably wondering what the heck he was supposed to do now - keep sprinting?
Greipel proved to be the fastest on this stage and took the win. Surprisingly Cav didn't get off the saddle to sprint as he knew it wasn't going to go his way. A battle for the green jersey was shaping up. The German grabbed the points, but Sagan still had the green jersey and Cav was still hunting for wins to break the record.
It was deja-vu in stage 6 - which is how the first week of the Tour de France usually shakes out - with a four man break, which included the USADA leaked name of David Zabriskie. Perhaps he was scampering up the road so he can more quickly return to the privacy of the Garmin-Sharp team bus.
And staying with the plot of the Tour a huge crash on a