First Tour de France Stage Surprises After Crash

July 2, 2011
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Photos: ASO

It was the kind of stage results that you could expect from a course that starts on a road that is submerged under water two times a day, the Passage du Gois, and then finishes in a steep mountain pass. The stage also followed along a beachfront that does not allow cars, and there are no high rises, two good karma points for cycling.

The stage was won by the favorite Phillipe Gilbert of the Omega Pharma Lotto team, but not until a few surprise crashes split the field and left some better general classification riders trying to claw their way back to the finish in the final minutes of the stage.

“I’ve never had this yellow jersey before so, for me, it’s a very good day, “ said Gilbert after the finish. Fabian Cancellara who battled it out with Gilbert before the finish came in second.

Cadel Evans came in third, and being the only GC contender of the three top riders, his early placement could help in the overall tour.

When the Passage du Gois from Île de Noirmoutier and Beauvoir sur Mer on the mainland, via Barbâtre isn’t under water, it’s covered with the detritus of the sea, including seaweed, so this year Tour

Phillipe Gilbert after his win today

organizers sought to avoid the massive pile ups that we saw in 1999, and neutralized the start through its narrow corridors.

But the start was a hint for what was to come, small surprises that shook up the expected order, mostly thanks to nature and the fact that this course replaced the prologue of years past.

The west of France has also been hazardous for some big riders, for one, big crashes that can separate big riders from the peloton. Like what happened between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador some years back when wind shears and a crash broke the peloton in two placing Armstrong in the front, and Contador some minutes behind.

The stage started along the western coast, and then moved inland after les Sables d’Olonne, then to the small mountain finish at Mont des Alouettes at les Herbiers,

Stage 1 Tour de France (ASO)

This mostly flat course favors a rider who can sprint in the minor mountain at the end. Green jersey points were awarded to the rider who won the intermediate sprint, with 40 points going to the winner. Previously an intermediate sprint, which today occurred at Avrille after 87 km would yield only 6, 4 and 2 points to the top three sprinters. But the higher sprint points this year worked to keep the field together this year to win the descending points among the top 16 riders, and worked against breakaway riders who often use the breaks to rack up points through the stage,

Today’s course favored Philipe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd, but it was Gilbert, followed by Cancellara then Evans who took the top three positions at the end of the stage. Thomas Geraint, a training pal of Mark Cavendish and rider for the Sky team came in fourth.

Belgian rider Gilbert who is riding for the Omega-Pharma Lotto team didn’t have the Tour on his official race program this year, but had a strong spring, winning the La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. His win today is an indicator that he is a rider to watch, at least for stage wins in the Tour this year.

But it was two crashes that created a dangerous deficit for General Classification contender Alberto Contador who was stuck behind one of them, and lost one minute overall to the lead riders, including most of the top GC contenders, among them his primary competition Andy Schleck.

(Versus wrongly reported that Frank Schleck was in the front group, but from the ASO official standings it appears to be Andy Schleck, his brother and co team mate on the Leopard Trek Team).

The Peleton, TDF 2011 Stage 1 (ASO)

Tomorrow the team trial could put Contador in an even greater deficit, because aside from fellow rider Nick Nuyens who won at Flanders this year, Contador’s Team Saxobank Sungard lost most of its core to Team Leopard Trek. That means coming out of Stage 2 tomorrow, we may be seeing a whole new Tour de France that could mean a big struggle for Contador, and a major advantage for Schleck.

Play by Play

No major crashes occurred at the first three quarters of this stage, though a couple of breakaways were attempted by several Europcar riders followed later by Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Perrig Quemeneur (EUR) and Lieuwe Westra (VCD).  Those riders took the top three point positions at the sprint in Avrille.

Near the finish of stage 1 TDF 2011

Behind them with 5km to go before the Avrille sprint, Lampre sent its team to the front. But even with a group effort by HTC, Omega Pharma and Lampre it was Tyler Farrar who took the  fourth place points 2 minutes and 35 seconds behind the three breakaway riders, reported the Amaury Sports Organization.

At 5.4 miles (9 km) from the finish at les Herbiers, there was a massive pile up caused by a spectator, and that crash created a split, with riders getting off the front, among them Phillipe Gilbert, Fabian Cancellara, Cadel Evans, Thor Hushovd, and Thomas Geraint.


As the lead riders sprinted towards the line Fabian Cancellara took a flyer off the front hoping to use his time trialing skills to best the riders behind him. But the Belgian National Champion Gilbert was not far behind him and proved to have a better acceleration, pulling past Cancellara to the finish. Cadel Evans showed good early Tour results by coming in third because of the three riders, he has one of the best prospects for the overall classification.

With one mile to go there was another crash, leaving behind many other riders.

OVERALL GC STANDINGS AT END OF STAGE 1, Tour de France

1. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 4h 41′ 31″
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 41′ 34″ + 00′ 03″
3. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
4. ROJAS Jose Joaquin 88 MOVISTAR TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 31 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
6. THOMAS Geraint 117 SKY PROCYCLING 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
7. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
8. TAARAMAE Rein 151 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
9. HORNER Christopher 72 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
10. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
11. GERDEMANN Linus 14 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
12. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
13. VELITS Peter 179 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
14. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
15. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE – ISD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
16. MILLAR David 56 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
17. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 61 PRO TEAM ASTANA 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
18. CANCELLARA Fabian 12 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
19. ROCHE Nicolas 101 AG2R LA MONDIALE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
20. BOLE Grega 163 LAMPRE – ISD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
21. SILIN Egor 198 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
22. PATERSKI Maciej 96 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
23. BOONEN Tom 122 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
24. MEERSMAN Gianni 135 FDJ 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
25. HAGEN Edvald Boasson 114 SKY PROCYCLING 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
26. QUINZIATO Manuel 147 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
27. BONNET William 132 FDJ 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
28. GALIMZYANOV Denis 193 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
29. VAN GARDEREN Tejay 178 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
30. GALLOPIN Tony 156 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
31. GUTIERREZ José Ivan 85 MOVISTAR TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
32. FOFONOV Dmitriy 63 PRO TEAM ASTANA 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
33. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
34. PINEAU Jérôme 127 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
35. DUQUE Leonardo 154 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
36. GAUTIER Cyril 183 TEAM EUROPCAR 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
37. HONDO Danilo 165 LAMPRE – ISD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
38. LEIPHEIMER Levi 75 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
39. BRAJKOVIC Janez 71 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
40. BRUTT Pavel 192 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
41. KARPETS Vladimir 191 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
42. GUSEV Vladimir 194 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
43. ZEITS Andrey 69 PRO TEAM ASTANA 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
44. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
45. GALLAND Jeremie 215 SAUR-SOJASUN 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
46. BERTAGNOLLI Leonardo 162 LAMPRE – ISD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
47. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
48. CHAVANEL Sylvain 121 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
49. LEUKEMANS Bjorn 205 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
50. WIGGINS Bradley 111 SKY PROCYCLING 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
51. O’GRADY Stuart 16 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
52. VANENDERT Jelle 38 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
53. ROELANDTS Jurgen 35 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
54. MANGEL Laurent 218 SAUR-SOJASUN 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
55. POPOVYCH Yaroslav 78 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
56. KOLOBNEV Alexandr 197 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
57. VENTOSO Francisco 89 MOVISTAR TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
58. DE WEERT Kevin 124 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
59. RENSHAW Mark 177 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
60. HINCAPIE George 144 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
61. TURGOT Sébastien 189 TEAM EUROPCAR 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
62. LANG Sebastian 34 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
63. SIEBERG Marcel 36 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
64. GREIPEL André 33 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
65. OSS Daniel 95 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
66. LONGO BORGHINI Paolo 94 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
67. EISEL Bernhard 173 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
68. BAK Lars 172 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
69. CAVENDISH Mark 171 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
70. SWIFT Ben 116 SKY PROCYCLING 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
71. NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas 57 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
72. DUMOULIN Samuel 153 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
73. STEEGMANS Gert 128 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
74. GESINK Robert 41 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
75. HINAULT Sébastien 105 AG2R LA MONDIALE 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
76. BURGHARDT Marcus 143 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
77. GOSS Matthew Harley 174 HTC – HIGHROAD 4h 41′ 37″ + 00′ 06″
78. BARREDO Carlos 42 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 4h 41′ 57″ + 00′ 26″
79. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
80. MOLLEMA Bauke 45 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
81. RUIJGH Rob 208 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
82. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
83. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 47 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
84. MONFORT Maxime 15 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
85. ROUX Anthony 137 FDJ 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
86. MOINARD Amaël 145 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″
87. URAN Rigoberto 118 SKY PROCYCLING 4h 42′ 51″ + 01′ 20″

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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