Ineos’ cautious strategy falls foul of crashes at Tour de France

Ineos Grenadiers teams Italian rider Filippo Ganna reacts after crash during the 2nd stage of the Tour de France
Ineos Grenadiers teams Italian rider Filippo Ganna reacts after crash during the 2nd stage of the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Daniel Martinez and Filippo Ganna’s crash in the final of today’s stage marrs a carefully controlled day for Ineos Grenadiers.

Ineos finished stage 2 of this year’s Tour de France into Nyborg with their GC hopefuls losing no time, but a surprising amount of collateral damage given their cautious ride.

"It was sketchy and stressful but I think we’ve definitely had worse,” Geraint Thomas said after the finish. “With the way the wind direction was, everyone knew not a lot was going to happen, but it was still obviously a very nervous peloton with crashes and stuff.”

Ineos kept riders toward the front of the peloton which ensured that the GC trio of Thomas, Adam Yates and Martinez weren’t affected by splits or crashes. “The boys were really good looking after me, Yatesy and Dani,” Thomas said. “We were in a great position.”

However, the team struck misfortune 2.5km from the line when Daniel Martinez and Filippo Ganna were both downed by a crash.

“It was just unfortunate at the end with Ganna and Dani in that crash," Thomas explained. “Luckily I wasn’t right behind them, just to the left of me. I saw a big black sort of blue thing in the deck and I thought shit I think that’s Ganna, unfortunately it was. Yeah, I haven't seen him yet but hopefully those two are alright.”

Ineos confirmed that the two riders remounted their bikes and were able to ride over the line, but were set to undergo further medical checks following the finish.

“Filippo and Dani crashed in the final but they seem OK,” Ineos DS Steve Cummings told Cyclingnews at the Ineos team bus. “It's too early to say, but I think they’re OK.”

Speaking about the lack of attacks and the clustering of the peloton on today’s stage, Cummings pinned the blame on the conditions. 

“It’s just a headwind isn't it? So, I mean, you can just stay in the back, but if you stay at the back you could be behind a crash and you can’t really do that.”

As a result, while the chances of success for attacks in the final 40km were vanishingly small, teams were eager to stay active at the front of the peloton, with the likes of Ineos battling for position. “You have to get involved with the chaos so you spend a lot of energy to stay out of trouble,” Cummings said.

The Great Belt Bridge was billed as a focal point tactically on the stage, and an area where many teams feared a crash. “It’s just nervous because it’s the Tour de France and everybody knows where the point is where you go off the bridge and then it narrows and then it’s just a drag race,” Cummings said.

It would prove a concerning stretch for GC favourites, with stage 1 yellow-jersey Yves Lampaert crashing during the crossing, while EF Education-Easypost team leader Rigoberto Urán had to fight his way back to the pack after coming down briefly before the bridge. “Uran crashed and that was before the bridge - which was worse. Worse on one end, but on the other he got the time to come back.”

While Ineos led their riders safely into Nyborg, the crash in the last 3km spoiled an otherwise flawless stage for the team.

“Someone caught the barriers basically,” Cummings explained. “It's quite narrow and you know that it's not consistent either - the barriers go up a little bit like that. So you know - someone's clipped the barrier.”

As the crash occurred in the final 3km of the stage, the fall didn’t impact Daniel Martinez’s position in the general classification, where he currently sits 45 seconds down on current race leader Wout van Aert, and 37 seconds down on Tadej Pogačar. 

Geraint Thomas currently sits 19 seconds ahead of his teammate, with Adam Yates currently highest placed amongst the Ineos GC contenders - 24 seconds down on Wout van Aert and a slender 2 seconds ahead of Thomas.

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Peter Stuart

Peter Stuart has been editor of Cyclingnews since March 2022, overseeing editorial output across all of Cyclingnews' digital touchpoints.

Before joining Cyclingnews, Peter was the digital editor of Rouleur magazine. Starting life as a freelance feature writer, with bylines in The Times and The Telegraph, he first entered cycling journalism in 2012, joining Cyclist magazine as staff writer. Peter has a background as an international rower, representing Great Britain at Under-23 level and at the Junior Rowing World Championships.