Garmin-Sharp rider blames roadside barriers for crashes
Ryder Hesjedal arrived at the Garmin-Sharp team bus after stage 1 of the Tour de France in a state of shock after being "crashed" yet again. The Canadian said that he was not caught up in the big crash that left at least 10 riders battered and bruised and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) almost certainly out of the race. Hesjedal was taken down before that, as riders hit intermittently placed barriers and other riders crashed into them from behind.
Hesjedal crashed out of the 2012 Tour de France in the big pile-up near the end of the stage to Metz. A virus and a subsequent lack of power forced him to quit this year's Giro d'Italia, and he also crashed out of the more recent Tour de Suisse. Since winning the 2012 Giro d'Italia, he has been unable to shake off the crash karma.
He managed to pick himself up, get back in training and be ready for this year's Tour de France, but admitted he is getting tired of collecting road rash for crashes which he has been unable to control or avoid.
"You try to avoid things, but guys don't react in time and you get crashed. I'm getting a little bit tired of it," he said when he arrived at the Garmin-Sharp bus immediately after finishing the opening stage in Bastia.
"I fell on my left side. My ribs are kind of sore - that was the first thing I noticed. I went down on bikes and guys. My shin's swelling up too," he said.
The confusion caused by the Orica-GreenEdge bus blocking the finish and the race organiser's late decision to change where the stage would end sparked much of the chaos. However Hesjedal blamed the use of intermittent roadside barriers and poor bike handling skills of his fellow riders.
"The roads are fine, but the guys were crashing into the barriers. They were there and then not there, so all of a sudden, if you have your bars in a certain place, too far to the left, you've got to take account of the barriers," he said.
"On the last stretch, guys crashed into the barriers on the left-hand side and crashed into the barriers on the right-hand side. You can't save yourself from that. If the guys aren't paying attention, they hit the barriers."
"I was trying to avoid them, and then they hit me from behind. It knocked me down, and I went down on a pile of bikes."
Hesjedal checked out his injuries before climbing on the bus, realising he had been lucky compared to many of the riders who crashed. He did not lose any time overall because all the riders were given the same tine due to the crashes and chaos.
"I always have to look at the positive. Sagan was brutal looking," he said, determined to be back on his bike on Sunday to do it all again.