Cavendish relieved to avoid Tour stage one crash but concerned for team-mates
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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cavendish relieved to avoid Tour stage one crash but concerned for team-mates

by Kyle Moore at 3:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Trentin and Terpstra become Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s alternative options

Mark CavendishAfter going in to stage one of the Tour de France with the yellow jersey as his goal, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was simply relieved to have all of his skin after a big crash took out a number of the favourites for the sprinter’s stage.

André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was caught up with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprint train on the left side of the road with approximately four kilometres to race. The resulting crash took out Cavendish’s team-mates Gert Steegmans and Tony Martin, the latter forced to abandon with deep abrasions and a suspected broken collarbone. Greipel’s rear mechanism was damaged, leaving him waiting for a bike that was long in coming.

Just behind the crash, Cavendish managed a serious grab of his brakes, coming to almost a complete stop before using the left side shoulder of the road to go around the wreckage.

With the incident happening so close to the finish line, it obviously derailed Cavendish’s plans for the stage win and yellow jersey, which was eventually taken by Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano).

To escape the expected fireworks of the first day of the Tour de France, the Manx rider considered himself fortunate. Cavendish blamed the issues on the situation with the Orica-GreenEdge bus blocking the finish line momentarily, which caused the finish line to be moved up three kilometres, only to be shifted back once the bus was moved.

“I didn't crash luckily; I was just behind the crash," Cavendish stated. “The stage wasn't too bad, not too different from what is normal at the Tour de France. What caused the problems is there was a change in the finish. We heard it on the radio with literally five kilometres to go that the sprint was in two kilometres. About a kilometer later when heading to the finish it was just carnage.

“I think the majority of the favorites for today's stage were caught up. Luckily I didn't go down. I was behind it. I'd seen my teammates end up a lot worse off. Tony Martin is in a bit of a state here. I can count myself lucky. It's not as bad as it could be for me, but my bigger concern is my teammates who were not so lucky.”

With Cavendish and his sprint train out of the picture, and with the finish set to be contested at its original spot, Omega Pharma-Quick Step found itself with just Niki Terpstra and Matteo Trentin there to contest it.

Terpstra left the faster Trentin to go for the sprint in the reduced group, and attacked on his own just before the one-kilometre to go banner. The former Dutch champion looked for a while as if he had caught the Argos-Shimano lead out train off guard, but Kittel’s squad was able to pull Terpstra back before the line.

“Actually when I heard the crash behind me, I looked behind and didn't see my teammates anymore – only Matteo,” Terpstra explained. “I asked Matteo again if he saw Mark and he said ‘no, he may have crashed.’ When I saw a good moment I just went because the guys who were leading the group were not going so fast anymore. They were tired. I knew the corner in the last kilometre was like a chicane you could take full gas. So I just tried it and went. It was a nice gap. I didn't expect it like that. But then, a kilometer can still be really long."

In the final 500 metres, Trentin was positioned well on the right side of the road, just behind Lotto-Belisol, riding for Greg Henderson. The young Italian was the first to unleash his sprint, which he acknowledged was too early.

“Being alone in the sprint is not something usual for me so I had a lot of guys fighting with me as I am not a big sprinter,” he admitted. “Finally I moved — a bit too early of course, but it was really the only possibility in my position, because I was coming from the back. I adjusted right when [Marcel] Sieberg started to do the lead out for Henderson. When I jumped on the wheel of Henderson, I knew Sieberg could go from far away.

With maybe 350 metres to go or something like this I waited a little bit, but at that moment you have to go. So I did my sprint at 350 metres to go. I knew already it was too far away. I'm happy about my sprint but of course not happy for Cav, and for Tony who crashed.”

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