The joke on Corsica this evening was that the first Tour de France stage was actually won by the Orica-GreenEdge team bus. The bus became lodged under the finish banner, being just a bit too tall to pass under. The team professed itself perplexed by the events.
“Obviously, this was a really unfortunate situation,” sport director Matt White said on the team website. “The bus was led under the finish gantry, and we took for granted that there was enough clearance. We’ve had this bus since we started the team, and it’s the same bus we took to the Tour last year."
"Our bus driver was told to move forward and became lodged under the finish gantry. He followed all instructions in the process that followed thanks to the hard work by ASO that allowed him to remove the bus before the finish. It was the best possible outcome given the situation.”
The team was able to come through the crash near the end safely, but its bad luck continued, as Matthew Goss was unable to compete for the win.
“Gossy managed to escape the first crash, but he clipped the barriers and went down about 500m from the line. The bunch had spread quite wide, and he ran out of road. He lost a bit of skin, but he should be fine other than. Obviously he’s not happy about crashing on the first day of the Tour, but he wasn’t the only one.”
White approved of the decision to award the same time to all riders. “Absolutely. It’s always a fair decision to make if something completely outside the riders’ control impacts the race the way it did today. It was a very good decision, and it’s the safest thing for the riders.”