The GoPro cameras of the Velon teams succeeded in capturing the absolute mayhem of the Tour de France stage 11 to Montpellier. Buffeted by crosswinds, the riders have to avoid several spills, dodge numerous traffic islands and speed bumps, all taken at high speed.
Sagan celebrates his stage victory over race leader Chris Froome after the finish with teammate Maciej Bodnar with a high-five.
Katusha's Van den Broeck abandons Tour de France
Katusha announced today that Jurgen Van den Broeck will not start stage 12 of the Tour de France on Thursday.
The 33-year-old Belgian crashed on his right shoulder shortly after the start of stage 11 and suffered a impactation fracture of the greater tuberosity, according to his team.
“It was really nervous in the beginning," Van den Broeck said in a statement released with the team's announcement. "I was fighting for my position in the bunch. After a left corner something went wrong for another rider. He touched my front wheel, I flipped over my bike. I did not panic immediately as initially it felt like an ordinary crash, but when I started to ride again my shoulder was hurting a lot."
Van den Broeck finished the stage and is currently 21st overall, but the diagnosis of a broken shoulder forced his decision not to take the stage 12 start in Montpellier.
"That's a hard verdict for me," he said. "The doctors tell me the fracture needs some weeks to heal, but I will need more time to recover mentally as I had already a lot of bad luck in my career. It hurts me a lot not to be able to help Team Katusha in the mountains."
Van den Broeck finished third and fourth overall in 2010 and 2012 Tours.
Meintjes on the wrong side of splits on stage 11
Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) slid outside of the top 10 in the overall standings at the Tour de France on stage 11 after getting caught out when the peloton split on the chaotic run-in to Montpellier.
The South African lost 1:09 on the day, and is now in 13th place, 2:10 behind overall leader Chris Froome (Sky).
"It's a pity I lost these seconds, especially because my teammates and I raced the whole day long paying enormous attention and succeeding in avoiding troubles," Meintjes said. "We were aware of the dangers of today stage, especially of the ones caused by the wind.
"It's not easy to race in these conditions, however we did quite well until the attack by Sagan and Froome. The bunch had slowed down after having covered the previous kilometers at a very high pace, the level of the attention was a little bit lower and so the bunch got split."
Meintjes is still the second placed best young rider, behind Orica-BikeExchange's Adam Yates by 1:42. With the Mont Ventoux stage, albeit shortened, on the menu tomorrow, Meintjes hopes to make some time back.
"I'll try to recover in the next climbs what I lost today," he concluded.
Reflections on stage 11
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): "It was a hectic day, from kilometer one! I'm happy that I survived today, thanks to my teammates. At the end, I told Fabian and Rasty to pull and suddenly Sagan goes like a rocket! I didn't get into troubles today, but it was stressful."
Jasper Stuyven: "I liked today! We were in the front taking care of Bauke, keeping him safe when the echelons were there, and we never had problems. I liked it; it was fun. The only problem was it was hard to stay hydrated since the cars were behind and it was a pretty hot day. At the end, I needed some water.
"I thought the sprinters' teams would pull [Froome, Sagan] back because there were still there with a lot of guys, but it appeared to be a hard day for everyone. I made a good sprint at the end; we did not sprint for first, but it was nice to be up there again."
Edward Thuens: "I was good in the front until a corner that I missed a bit and found myself at the back where there was one crash after another. There was a crash, and everyone braked really hard. I also braked but could not stop fast enough and went into another rider.
"After that, I was hurting – my knee hurt a bit. I could stay in the first echelon for a long time, but the whole time I was sitting in the back. I was not so good anymore after the crash, so it was not a nice day."
Giant-Alpecin Coach Marc Reef: "It was a very nervous day, there was a lot of wind, especially tailwind. We knew that it could be a really important day for the GC, therefore, we had to protect Warren [Barguil] which we did in a good way. In the finale, we both had John [Degenkolb] and Warren in a good position so it was a very good day for the team and we have improved a lot.
"It was a surprise attack at the end, I'm surprised that the teams weren't in a position to immediately react to it. For us, it is not the biggest point but it's more for the other teams that they let the break stay away to the finish."
Andre Greipel: "I can't be happy today, because I had hoped for a bunch sprint and a stage win and that didn't happen. With the team we tried to stay concentrated all day long. With twelve kilometres to go the four strongest riders got away. Sagan and Froome had a teammate with them, we couldn't do anything about it anymore, even though all sprint teams sacrificed all their riders. Our efforts weren't enough to catch them. This is another chance that has gone, I can only keep hoping."
Emanuel Buchmann: "Today it was a very fast and nervous stage. The field was split in many groups and there were many crashes. My teammates supported my great today and I go to the finish line one minute behind the winner. I don't like windy races, my teammates and I did the best to limited losses today.”