August 1, 2021

Lopez, Porte, Hirschi … The big losers of the falls of the first stage

In the euphoria and relief of Julian Alaphilippe, there was more than just confirmation of being the strongest in the percentages of the Côte de la Fosse aux Loups. The winner of the first stage of the Tour de France 2021, saturday june 26 in Landerneau, also had the chance to be one of the rare runners spared by the two massive falls which damaged a good part of the peloton, 45 and 7 kilometers from the finish.

The first was caused by a spectator encroaching on the road with her cardboard sign. Obsessed with the camera, she didn’t realize that Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) was going to be hampered in his progress. Unbalanced, the German fell and behind him, a gigantic billiard shot sent to the mat about sixty runners. While the peloton had managed to reform, another fall occurred as the formations began to accelerate in front of the peloton to place themselves before the last difficulty.

Live, impossible to draw up an exhaustive list of all the sores. It wasn’t until the finish line was cut at Landerneau what the extent of the damage could be ascertained. Some ambitious leaders overall have lost more than others, without knowing exactly whether the gaps conceded are due to falls or a failure in the last few hundred meters.

Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) for example lost five seconds on the bulk of the group of favorites and 23 on Alaphilippe. A trifle compared to the leader of the Movistar, Miguel Angel Lopez, relegated to 1’59 ” from the yellow jersey, as well as the fourth of the Tour 2019 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), the leader of AG2R- Citroën Ben O’Connor and Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis). “I got caught in the first fall. I had a sun, the head hit a lot and the hip is sore, but it could be a lot worse. We arrived safely“, reacted the Norman on arrival.

The addition was even saltier for the third of the last Tour de France, Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers), who conceded 2’26 ” at the finish after being caught in the second crash. Leader of the Israel Start-Up Nation training, Michael Woods has already said goodbye to any chance of ranking well in the general classification. The Canadian, recent fifth in the Tour de Suisse, lost 8’59 ”. His teammate Chris Froome appeared very badly after the second crash. “This is not what I had planned for today but I managed to finish. I’m going to do some radios“, wrote the four-time winner of the Tour on Twitter, after completing the stage at 14’37” from Alaphilippe.

Revelation of the last edition, Marc Hirschi was granted a role of free electron within the UAE Emirates team of outgoing winner Tadej Pogacar. The Swiss had a bad day on the hilly roads of Brittany, as his punch made him one of the contenders for victory at Landerneau. Hirschi was caught in the two big crashes that left the peloton dead. If he managed to cross the finish line, 18 minutes after Julian Alaphilippe, our special envoys saw him unable to sling his arm, which was too painful.

Only one rider arrived after Hirschi at Landerneau, the Spaniard of the Movistar Marc Soler. The one who was to play lieutenants for Miguel Angel Lopez, Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde had to leave the Tour, victim of two fractures of the radius according to his team. A former member of Movistar also retired, the German Jasha Sütterlin (DSM), caught in the first fall. Later, the withdrawals of Cyril Lemoine (B&B Hotels-KTM) – four broken ribs plus a pneumothorax – and Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) were also notified. Other fixed prices can intervene before the start of the second stage.