The 100th Tour de France Stage 1 was filled with unusual and bizarre circumstances, not the least of which was the Team Bus of Orica GreenEDGE getting wedged under the finish line barrier (courtesy of ITV Cycling):
The bus was part of the caravan pulling through about 20 minutes before the race ended, but the air conditioning system was higher than the clearance allowed. Replays showed liquid spraying in the air as the bus pulled to its final stopping point and the driver putting his hands over his head in shock.
At one point, race organizers decided to move the finish to the 3K to go mark as it seemed impossible for the race to finish as planned, but at the last moment, the bus was backed out and pulled off to the side and the race finished at the original marker.
As this was going on, riders were getting conflicting information as they wound down the last 10K, which was then marred by a series of crashes, mostly on the sides of the narrow roads as the size of the full field certainly played into limited space. One would have to think that the riders were also distracted by what they were hearing on race radio with regard to the finish (which would have immediate strategic implications to all the riders and teams given the short distance left).
Chaos was the word of the day, as major sprinters like Andre Greipel, Mark Cavendish, Matt Goss, and Peter Sagan were all caught up in the crashes, leading to a free-for-all sprint won by Germany’s Marcel Kittel. With the Stage 1 victory comes the coveted yellow jersey which he will wear with pride tomorrow. Also the green sprinters jersey is technically in his closet.
Because of the crashes, tour organizers gave all riders the same time in the General Classification, at least for those who crashed in the last 10K.
David Whitlock (@lhd_on_sports)
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