Riders remaining: 188
Distance: 168.5 km
The first week of the Tour de France is always a tense time. The riders are nervous; the excitement of the starting days is at a fever pitch; and it seems that everyone is waiting for that first big crash. Well, today they got it. Within three kilometers of the finish line, at ~38 mph, a Team Milram competitor swerved, causing a Team Liquigas rider to go down on the right side of the road. With nowhere to go and no time to stop, the approaching riders crashed into the Liquigas competitor, causing a pile up. In a rushed attempt to avoid the crash, other riders headed to the left side of the road. There, another rider went down, causing a second pile up that eventually blocked the entire street. It looked horrendous from the aerial cameras, much like the Stage 1 crash in 2003 that resulted in a fractured pelvis, damaged leg muscles, and dashed Tour hopes for the current Team Discovery Channel leader Levi Leipheimer. For video of today’s incident, check out this link on the Versus channel. Once there, click on "Daily Video" first and then "Huge Fall."
Team Discovery Channel status
Despite being involved in the big crash, George Hincapie remains in fourth place overall. Velonews had this to say about his wounds:
Hincapie rolled through with a gash to his right knee, visibly shaken. “I couldn’t move my knee at first, but when I pedaled to the finish I think it got better,” he said. “It felt a lot worse when I first hit. There wasn’t anything I could do anyway.”Tomas Vaitkus, suffering more severe injuries, is out of the competition. Also from Velonews
Hincapie’s injuries were described as “minor,” including a slight contusion and scrapes. He will be back in the peloton on Tuesday…
According to Discovery spokesman P.J. Rabice, Vaitkus was diagnosed with “five unstable fractures of the right thumb, which will require surgery, including a plate. Vaitkus is expected to have surgery this evening and will not start (Tuesday’s) third stage.”So the team is down to eight members now. It could be worse. George Hincapie or Levi Leipheimer could have been seriously injured. Hopefully, tomorrow will be calm and uneventful.