The massive crash that occurred at the halfway mark of stage 9 of the Tour de France on the descent of the Col du Peysur caused the peloton to slow down. Podium contender Cadel Evans (BMC) wasn't among the casualties but he immediately realized that those who went down had sustained serious injuries. The Australian cycling star explained that seeing the riders and the bikes spread out over the road frightened him, immediately bringing back memories to the recent crash that claimed the life of Wouter Weylandt in the Giro d'Italia.
Right after crossing the finish line in Saint-Flour, the BMC-rider approached the team bus and then discovered a nice surprise. Evans' wife and dog were there to welcome him and the former world champion clearly appreciated their presence.
A little later, the Australian considered the day's stage and his face turned grim. "That was carnage," he said bluntly. "To be honest, they were going pretty fast down there and I was leaving a few gaps. It was like a Pyrenees descent. If you let your brakes go you went too fast. I spent more time trying to slow down than speeding up. We came into a blind corner and they were all lying there. I saw a lot of riders on the road. I thought it was [Frederik] Willems.
"Honestly, it really, really, really frightened me. After what happened with Wouter at the Giro. I saw him [Willems] there and Brent Bookwalter was down as well unfortunately. I heard he came back on to our group. I saw that [the crash] and it really frightened me. If it's the front wheels and the front forks it must've been a frontal impact. I was leaving a safety margin to go down there," Evans said.
The Australian is now in a perfect position as the Tour de France enters its second week as he's the best-placed general classification rider. Right after stage 9 Evans said he was more than happy to take a little break that the first rest day of the Tour brings.
"I had enough of bike racing for this week," Evans said.
The fact that the speed in the peloton dropped allowed the breakaway to gain a big margin which eventually resulted in Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) taking over the yellow jersey from Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo). It might have been an ideal opportunity for Evans to take the yellow jersey as well, but the Australian was unconcerned. "Immediately after the crash Thor stopped. That was a sign of respect and I don't understand why we didn't all stop. I saw the face of Willems there and it really frightened me," Evans said.