It didn’t really happen after all.
Tour de France 2013: chaos and crashes mark disastrous first stage
Sean Ingle, The Observer
Saturday 29 June 2013 12.33 EDT
It was supposed to be the day when Mark Cavendish wriggled into the Tour de France’s famous yellow jersey for the first time. Instead it will be remembered for an Orica GreenEdge team bus wedged under the finish line and a spectacular crash with six kilometres remaining that took out half the peloton.
With the driver trying – and failing – to extricate the bus, before throwing his hands in front of his eyes as if desperately hoping to wish his worries away, Tour organisers frantically switched the finish to the three-kilometre line down the road. Moments later the bus started reversing – and so did the organisers, who switched the finish back to its original spot near Bastia beach. It was a decision that, in the words of Cavendish, led to “carnage”.
With the peloton going at more than 40mph, Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-Quickstep team-mate Tony Martin appeared to buckle suddenly, and as his bike jumped and skipped and then slipped from under him several riders were sent flying – including Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas. Despite Thomas doing a passable impression of Superman he was cleared to race on Sunday after hospital x-rays showed no damage.
Because of the confusion, everyone was given the same finishing time as the winner, the German Marcel Kittel. That, however, was scant consolation for Cavendish, who blamed the organisers for causing the chaos with their late switch. “We were hearing in the radios with 5k to go the finish was in 2k,” he said. “Then a kilometre later, it’s at the finish. It was carnage. I’m lucky I didn’t come down. Some of my team-mates are a lot worse.”
Martin, the world time-trial champion, later lost consciousness twice on the team bus and was reported to have widespread abrasions. Even though a brain scan came back clear the chances of him participating in the second stage from Bastia to Ajaccio must be slim.
Still having trouble, more after Formula One.