The 'sprint royal' that should have taken place in Brussels on Sunday did not happen, for a series of accidents caused the peloton to rip apart, bringing down several high-profile sprinters. Stage favourite Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) went down along with Oscar Freire (Rabobank) inside the final two kilometres before another crash in the last 200 metres ruled out Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) and Lloyd Mondory (AG2R-La Mondiale).
It was Mondory whose front wheel got tangled up with Farrar's rear wheel, sending the Frenchman down on the tarmac and ending both sprinters' chances. Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre-Farnese Vini finally scored the stage win.
"The front wheel of an AG2R rider went under Farrar's derailleur - he basically had two bikes for a 100 metres," Garmin-Transitions manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews at the stage start in Brussels on Monday morning. Fortunately, Farrar did not hit the ground, but Mondory came down hard and scraped some skin off his bottom.
"I was on Petacchi's wheel, who started his sprint with 250 metres to go," Mondory told Cyclingnews for clarification. "Suddenly, I got hit on the back, which pushed me forwards, into Farrar's wheel, who was left of me. Unfortunately, for him as well as for myself, that's what ended our sprint. In fact, it was Roelandts who almost went into the barriers and who had to swerve to the left in order to make it."
Mondory started stage two to Spa, but did not know how he was going to get through the day because of his injuries. "My bottom is burned, but this isn't my primary concern. My right ankle also hit something. Now, I don't know how it's going to evolve. I was able to walk this morning, but I don't know how it will affect my cycling in a 200km stage. But I'm optimistic. As for my bottom, the injury is just above the seat area so there shouldn't be too much contact."
Cyclingnews then spoke to Jürgen Roelandts from Omega Pharma-Lotto and the Belgian admitted it had been his fault. "I hit Mondory in the back with my elbow, as I had to avoid the road barriers," he said, himself the victim of race circumstances. "At that point the road was suddenly more narrow, and this caught me by surprise. I will speak to Mondory - it was just really unfortunate."