I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability. However in the case of Peter Sagan, I suspect he surpassed himself. Maybe Sagan was a little fortunate today, with a crash in the final 2km that took out Gavaria. Plus Sonny Colbrelli finally realized his potential and almost got Sagan on the line. There were reminders of Stage 4 last year when Sagan callously took out Mark Cavendish, as John Dekankolb raised his hand in protest. But on review it looked like a good clean sprint from Peter Perfect. I think Dekankolb was complaining about the jet draft as Sagan went past him!
The stage 1 recipient of the “Close Ground Inspection Award” Lawson Craddock managed to remount today with a “minor” fracture to his scapula and a bunch of stitches above his eye. He managed to finish the stage but will suffer in the TTT tonight. However Luis Leon Sanchez was not so lucky yesterday, as he hit the deck hard. His elbow looked like it had been put into a meat grinder, and he looked in some discomfort. But he signaled to get a bike off the team car. It was only when he tried to hold the bars and mount the bike that his body said no. He withdrew with 4 broken ribs and a fractured elbow. Maybe Naymar Jr needs to start watching some cycling footage about how to make falling over a bit more spectacular.
Also, what is it with British riders hitting the deck. Geraint Thomas has a reputation for performing close ground inspections, although has managed to stay on his bike for 2 days so far this tour. Other British riders not so much. Adam Yates from Aussie team Michelton Scott has hit the deck each day, although they look to be minor falls. Chris Froome, who is only somewhat British, has has to pick grass out of his teeth once already, hopefully he does not have to do the same when they hit the cobbles on Sunday. The Aussies haven’t fared much better, with West Aussie Luke Durbridge adding to his scab count yesterday and Heinrich Haussler checking if a barrier would actually work if you hit it at 40kph. Both barrier and Haussler survived the test.
I suspect tonight’s Team Time Trial will see the end of Sprinters wearing the Maillot Jeaune, unless Quickstep can live up to expectations as one of the best TT squads in the world. I suspect Sky may take it out, although with Bernal hitting the deck on stage 1, and his TT quality unknown, they may have to wait for him. Thomas took a leaf out of Naesens play book yesterday and took a 1 second bonus in the final intermediate sprint. This moved up from 15th to 6th, so that means Sky go 6th last in the TTT. Very smart move for no energy wasted.
On to the sweep-stake. First of all can those slack payers get your cash into my account or paypal. I have a long weekend racing at the MTB Single Speed Nationals this weekend in Alice Springs and I need beer money. Things start to take shape on stage 2 providing me with a bit more banter material. We already have a clear leader in the comp, with Babel sneaking to the top just ahead of Chuck Charity 17. But it is tight at the top already. Last year we had to wait quite a number of days for the bottom of the table to sort itself out. This year I think it might only take another day or two, with only seven teams on zero points. Due to the marvels of randomizing, The Doctor can have the first mention as our Lantern Rouge.
Tonight is a Team Time Trial. I used to give a prize for the TTT, but it got too hard to work out. That may still be the case, although I will have a review in the morning. As the TTT hasn’t run in a few years that code might have got a bit rusty.