Tyler Farrar was taken out of a stage winning position on stage 1 of the Tour de France in Brussels on Sunday. The Garmin-Transitions sprinter tangled wheels with Lloyd Mondory (AG2R) inside the final 300 meters and was unable to sprint for the line as he dragged the Frenchman’s bike along the tarmac. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) won the stage.
“He did a classic Lloyd Mondory move,” Farrar told Cyclingnews as he dragged his own damaged bike to the team bus. “He decided to try and commit suicide into my back wheel with 300 meters to go when I was with Petacchi and Renshaw.”
The stage was marred by a number of crashes in the final few kilometres. Stage favourite Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) went down along with Oscar Freire (Rabobank) inside the final two kilometres before another crash in the final kilometre ruled out several other sprinters.
Leading into the final 500 metres the battle was set to be decided by Farrar, Mark Renshaw, Petacchi and Thor Hushovd, but just when Petacchi swung to the left Mondory and Farrar tangled. “He ran into my back wheel and my derailleur stuck in his front wheel. I dragged his bike 100 meters down the road. I didn’t come off.”
Despite the late crash and subsequent lack of points for the green jersey, Farrar praised his team for the work they had done during the stage and especially the final few kilometres. “I felt good but the guys were perfect today. They did exactly what they needed to do. You can’t help something like this.”
The first week of a Grand Tour - especially the Tour de France - is typically sprinkled with crashes and injuries as nervous riders battle for an early win. When asked if the crashes that littered today’s stage were a result of overall contenders being near the front or too little respect for sprinters, Farrar said. “It’s just everyone is nervous it’s the first field sprint of the Tour and everyone wants to start off on a good note. Things like this happen in bike racing.”
Farrar will have a chance to set things right in tomorrow second stage from Brussels to Spa. “I’ll be fine for tomorrow. I just couldn’t pedal anymore today. It’s a shame to lose points like that. That’s bike racing I guess.”