George Hincapie: “I’ve never seen anything like it”
Some nitwit prankster must have thought it would be comical to create chaos in the peloton by spreading tacks along a section of Sunday’s Tour de France route from Limoux – Foix.
Not so funny.
The tacks — described as nails by some — caused dozens of punctures on bikes and support vehicles and caused at least one crash when a cyclist lost control.
The tacks were tossed onto the course on the Mur de Peguere, the final climb in the 118-mile Stage 14.
“There was clearly something on the road, probably on the climb or just after. Everyone was flatting. I’ve never seen anything like it,” US cyclist George Hincapie is quoted.
Defending champ Cadel Evans was an early victim and, according to CyclingNews, had to wait 1:15 for a new wheel. He soon had to stop to change bikes, then suffered another puncture.
Through all this, overall leader Bradley Wiggins and Team SKY reduced their pressure on Evans until he could catch up with the race leaders again. It’s a common practice at the Tour for cyclists to go easy on their rivals if they’ve undergone a mechanical problem.
Then Wiggins suffered a puncture himself.
What’s worse is the crash by Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) just after the summit when he lost control of his bike after a puncture. He left the race with suspected broken bones.
At this Twitter page, Levi Leipheimer (Omega) wrote:
“Unfortunate crash w/ Robert Kiserlovski just after last GPM. I wish you a fast recovery Robert! Putting tacks on the road is criminal.”
Race commentator Phil Liggett had a few choice words as well:
“Words fail me. What a disgrace They were big nails. Motos, cars, riders, everyone had a tale. Whoever did it was clearly deranged.”
While the main peloton was dealing with the punctures, Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez was taking a solo victory in the stage at Foix. The Rabobank cyclist had attacked his breakaway group and won the stage by 47 seconds.
Overall, Wiggins remains in 1st going into the final week of the Tour de France. He’s followed by teammate Chris Froome. Meanwhile, defending champ Evans sits in 4th overall, 3:19 behind the leader.
US cyclist Tejay Van Garderen, a native of Tacoma, Washington, still holds the best young rider’s jersey. He’s in 7th place.
Top 10 overall:
|1.||GBR WIGGINS Bradley||101||SKY PROCYCLING||64h 41′ 16”|
|2.||GBR FROOME Christopher||105||SKY PROCYCLING||64h 43′ 21”||+ 02′ 05”|
|3.||ITA NIBALI Vincenzo||51||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE||64h 43′ 39”||+ 02′ 23”|
|4.||AUS EVANS Cadel||1||BMC RACING TEAM||64h 44′ 35”||+ 03′ 19”|
|5.||BEL VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen||111||LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM||64h 46′ 04”||+ 04′ 48”|
|6.||ESP ZUBELDIA Haimar||19||RADIOSHACK-NISSAN||64h 47′ 31”||+ 06′ 15”|
|7.||USA VAN GARDEREN Tejay||9||BMC RACING TEAM||64h 48′ 13”||+ 06′ 57”|
|8.||SLO BRAJKOVIC Janez||181||ASTANA PRO TEAM||64h 48′ 46”||+ 07′ 30”|
|9.||FRA ROLLAND Pierre||29||TEAM EUROPCAR||64h 49′ 47”||+ 08′ 31”|
|10.||FRA PINOT Thibaut||146||FDJ-BIGMAT||64h 50′ 07”||+ 08′ 51”|