Crashes and injuries overshadowed the start of the Tour de France – the UCI World Cycling Federation was faced with serious allegations again. “The roads were incredibly smooth, there was a lot of oil on the asphalt,” said the German professional cyclist Tony Martin at the finish in Nice: “In principle, we had no chance of driving a relatively safe and responsible race.” The result: dozens Falls in the course of the stage, a mass crash on the home straight, high activity in the X-ray car, three drivers, including the German classic star John Degenkolb, injured outside.
The pouring rain had turned the steep slopes into oily, soapy slides. The ex-world champion Martin, who as the “Road Captain” of his Jumbo Visma team can usually be found at the top of the peloton, recognized the danger early on and slowed the field with words and gestures. “I noticed that everyone would neutralize, but nobody takes the first step. Then I took the initiative, “said Martin:” Everyone agreed, except for Astana. “The Kazakh team kept pushing the pedals until their captain Miguel Ángel López slid into a curve against a road sign, with skill and skill good luck but remained unharmed.
Degenkolb remained in great pain after his fall outside the time limit, teammate Philippe Gilbert and the Spaniard Rafael Valls retired from the tour with breaks, André Greipel, Thibaut Pinot, Caleb Ewan and many others were caught. Martin’s team-mate Robert Gesink reported that during the stage the UCI commissioners had unsuccessfully requested a discussion about neutralization. The last descent from the Côte de Rimiez drove the field down at a safe pace thanks to Martin. The UCI never came up with the idea of sparing the professionals the final mass sprint on soaking wet asphalt – there it crashed again. (sid / jW)