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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The Tour de France has finally started. Noirmoutier-En-L’Ïle sent the peloton on its way for a 3,500-kilometre lap around France in spectacular fashion. The Tour last visited the island in 1999 and, that year, the race used Le Passage du Gois to get back to the mainland. Le Passage is a road that gets submerged depending on the tide, so the road is extremely slippery. There was carnage back in 1999, but not in 2018, as race organizers opted for the safer and dryer bridge back to the mainland.
Quote of the day:
“A broken scapula and a few stitches aren’t how you want to finish stage 1 of @letourdefrance, but I’m from Texas and we were born to fight. #HoustonStrong” — Lawson Craddock in an Instragram post after crashing on stage one.
Story of the day: High and lows all in the same day at the Tour.
The spirit of the Tour de France has a way of being extremely cruel in one moment and then watching over a rider or team in the next moment. EF Education First-Drapac experienced both sides of “Lady Luck” during the 2018 Tour de France’s opening stage.
American Lawson Craddock fell heavily and x-rays revealed a fractured scapula. It appears doubtful he will be on the start line for stage two. On the other hand, team leader Rigoberto Uran finished in the front group and gained 51 seconds on Chris Froome (Sky). Uran lost the Tour to Froome by a mere 54 seconds last year.
Craddock was battered, bruised, and had blood dripping down his face as he crossed the line to finish the opening stage. He rolled across the line in last place, nearly eight minutes down on the winner.
“Definitely not an ideal start of the Tour for me,” Craddock said of his crash. “I think we’ll see how I feel tonight and maybe get on the bike in the morning just to give it a feel, but I mean I’ve put too much work into … ”
Craddock was unable to finish the sentence, as he choked up at the thought of having to abandon the race.
Meanwhile, EF Education First-Drapac’s GC contender Uran had a stellar opening day to the Tour. The Colombian was able to avoid all of the crashes, and splits in the finale to finish with the same time as the stage winner. He was one of only a few GC hopefuls to do finish with the front group.
“The boys really worked well together to keep Rigo covered, not only covered but riding in a safe position, in a safe way,” said the team’s road captain Simon Clarke. “Quite a lot of those crashes happened right in front of us, but because of the way we were riding as a unit, we were able to avoid all of them and keep Rigo in the front.
The emotions at the dinner table for the boys in pink and green were surely a mixed affair on Saturday night. The squad had kept their leader safe and gained vital time on other key GC contenders. However, one of their own was wounded.
Craddock’s start on stage two doesn’t look likely, but as the saying goes, “The Tour is Tour,” and riders push through the pain just that little bit more not to abandon. Ultimately, It wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Texan on the start line for stage two.
Dispatches from the Tour de France
Gaviria wins stage 1 of Tour de France; Froome, Porte and Quintana lose time
Fernando Gaviria won the opening stage of the 2018 Tour de France into Fontenay-Le-Comte over world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and his former teammate Marcel Kittel (Team Katusha-Alpecin).
The chaotic final ten kilometres saw many riders hit the ground and the peloton split into several groups with general classification contenders losing time. Chris Froome (Sky), Richie Porte (BMC Racing), and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) lost 51 seconds. While Nairo Quintana lost 1:15 seconds.
Froome crashed in the finale and did his best to shrug off his time loss. “Thankfully I am okay. I just came off in the last ten kilometres,” he said outside the Team Sky bus. “It was just one of those things. We always knew the first few days were going to be tricky, going to be sketchy, and that’s part of the game, unfortunately.”
Click through to read our full report of stage one of the 2018 Tour de France.
The side stories, overheard remarks, and insider info floating around the Tour de France, straight from our reporter’s notebooks to the DND.
A sneaky second
Team car position matters, particularly in chaotic finishes like we saw Saturday. It can be the difference been a small time loss and a big one when things go sideways. So it was a clever little move from Oliver Naessen to snag a bonus second, and thus move his AG2R team car (the team of Romain Bardet, of course) up to 4th in line, while rivals BMC and Sky will be near the back of the caravan.
For CyclingTips Podcast listeners, Quickstep’s 120-kilogram banana problem has not been solved. Our banana expert (Dave Everett) thinks they’d be lucky to get rid of 5 or 6 kilos of bananas per day.
The boos of Froome
There weren’t many of them, but they were quite vocal. One man in a red and blue FDJ hat stood on the corner where the busses come in in the morning, his boos so loud they could surely be heard inside the Team Sky bus. Some of the French are not Froome fans.
But as Froome’s director Nico Portal pointed out: “When you compare it to other sports like football it is nothing.”
Despite a spate of crashes in the finale, only one rider made it into the formal medical report: Lawson Craddock. The Texan went down heard early and had teammates at his side all day. He finished with blood running down his face and neck, and, the medical report confirms, a slightly fractured clavicle. He’ll get on the bike tomorrow to see how it feels, but a start is not guaranteed. Heal up, Lawson
Tour de France stage 2
Finish: La Roche-sur-Yon
Can Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) win two stages in a row? The second stage of the Tour is another flat stage with an uphill jaunt to the finish line. The finishing straight is 900-metres long, so it will once again be the battle of the lead-out trains. Quick-Step Floors’ train looked head and shoulders above the rest in delivering their sprinter to the line in prime position on Saturday, so teams will have to fight hard to dethrone the boys in blue.
Giro Rosa: Wild sprints to victory on stage 2, Brand takes maglia rose
Kirsten Wild (Wiggle-High5) sprinted to victory in Ovada, Italy to capture the second stage of the Giro Rosa over Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance) and European Champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals). Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) finished in the main pack and moved into the overall lead, taking the maglia rosa off the shoulders of her teammate Ellen van Dijk.
Shelya Guiterrez (Cylance) and Alice Maria Arzuffi (Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias) were the main protagonists of the day. The duo escaped about midway through the stage and were caught just 500 meters from the line. Wiggle-High5 had done most of the chasing at the front of the peloton in the second half of the race and their hard work paid off in the end with Wild taking the win.
The Giro Rosa continues tomorrow with a pancake flat circuit race for stage three. The stage takes place around the town of Corbetta with the riders tackling eight laps of a 16.5-kilometre circuit.
Tour de France stage 1 highlights
New time-bonus point explained