Team Sky rider worries more crashes with fans could happen
This year's Grand Départ has been almost defined by the huge crowds that have turned out to watch the multi-coloured spectacle that is the Tour de France peloton. The scenes at the top of each climb have been something akin to the crowds at a summit finish.
Almost every rider has commented on the amazing atmosphere that has followed them around Yorkshire. Few have ever raced in front of crowds such as these. However, there has been a grumbling about fans getting too up close and personal. The biggest complaint at the end of each stage is fans taking selfies on their phones and tablets.
"It's the new pain in the arse that's for sure," said Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas when he was asked if selfies were the new problem for the peloton. Thomas is just the latest of many to comment on the problem, with many taking to Twitter to express their annoyances.
After stage 1, Fabian Cancellara tweeted "Huge crowds are amazing for us bike riders, but let's try to keep it safe for everyone and make more space and make a step back on the road."
"They obviously don't see us coming," Thomas told the press at the finish of stage 2. "If somebody's stood in the road taking a picture, they don't see us coming. If you're on the front then you can see it, but if you're two back then suddenly switches around them and you nearly hit them."
While Thomas didn't begrudge the fans a chance to snap a picture of themselves with their heroes, he did ask that they be a bit more considerate when doing so. "I think if everyone realises that we take up the whole road, they can do it if they want, but go and sit in a tree or something," he said.
It wasn't just selfies that were the problem but normal snappers caused some upsets in the peloton. Giant-Shimano rider Roy Curvers had a coming together with a fan taking a photograph on the side of the road as he was trying to protect race leader Marcel Kittel. Fortunately for the Dutch rider, he stayed upright on his two wheels.
Thomas put the incidents down to a lack of familiarity with watching professional racing from the side of the road. "There's not much racing on British roads, and I don't think that people understand how fast we go and how close we get," he said. "There's been too many big accidents recently with riders hitting spectators and you don't want to see that but it could quite easily happen at the moment."
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