After Sunday's first stage of the Tour de France, which ended in a bunch sprint taken by French Cofidis rider Jimmy Casper, riders of the Quick.Step team complained that it had been too disorganised. World Champion Tom Boonen started his sprint too soon, and after hitting an object held over the barriers by a spectator, stopped his effort with 50 metres to go.
"Four or five times we tried to get our train going," Boonen told Sporza. "Every time someone mingled and disturbed the process. It was complete chaos in Strasbourg. There also was a bad head wind and too many corners in the last kilometres. We just didn't succeed and then I was on my own." But Boonen wasn't the only sprinter left without teammates too soon before the line.
"All the sprinters were without locomotives," he continued. "We looked at each other, but couldn't do anything. When I was alone in front, I thought 'Shit, too soon, what do I do now?' After I hit the camera, I just sat up. When I pulled on the handlebar, my upper arm cramped." Boonen is looking forward to today's second stage to Luxembourg, as he's still only 13 seconds behind Hincapie. "I'll try again in the second stage," he concluded.
Teammate Steven De Jongh was lees calm about Sunday's finale. "I have rarely seen anything like it," he said. "I just couldn't get it organised. But what can you do? There just isn't enough space for 20 teams up front. It's their right to be there, but I don't think Thomas Voeckler will ever win a bunch sprint... Even my old teammate Oscar Freire almost rode into me. Everyone suddenly thought they could win, taking far too great risks - under these circumstances, you just can't get your train in order."