It seemed a perfect scenario for the Tour de France's leader, Stefan Schumacher: he was in a lead group with just a few hundred metres to go and set to contest the stage victory. At the very least, with a 12 second lead, he stood to hold onto the yellow jersey. But then it happened: a touch of wheels and he was on the ground with his team-mate tumbling after him.
"This is a very, very bitter moment," Schumacher said. "Until the finish everything went perfectly. The team worked superbly, I was in a very good form and was thinking 'The yellow jersey is safe, now I will try to win the stage with a sprint'. I wanted to attack - but suddenly Kim Kirchen swerved and I touched his rear wheel."
The German doesn't blame Kirchen for the crash. "That was not his intention, it was just bad luck…. But to lose the yellow jersey this way? That's bitter. This really hurts."
Schumacher was especially depressed to have denied his team another day with the yellow jersey after they rode in defense of his lead the entire stage. "I would have liked to have brought another jersey back to the hotel for the team, because they worked so well for it. I am enormously sorry to not have that."