Bad timing for Kittel
Argos-Shimano, with three stage wins to their name so far, were left frustrated by the timing of a mechanical by in-form sprinter Marcel Kittel during stage 13. Kittel dropped his chain and was at the back of the bunch when Omega Pharma-Quick-Step launched the attack that caused the first split.
"We tried to respond for Kittel with Timmer, Geschke, Fröhlinger, Curvers, Dumoulin in the second group while De Kort, Veelers and Degenkolb were in the first group," explained team coach Christian Guiberteau. "The second group came really close, but just didn't make it, than the flat of [Alejandro] Valverde did not make it easier because the GC teams in the first group put the hammer down."
That meant that the team was now throwing their weight behind Degenkolb but when Saxo-Tinkoff attacked with around 30km left to race, Argos-Shimano's day was done.
"It was hard today, we lost Marcel at the first part and were left with Tom Veelers, John Degenkolb and myself in the first group" said Koen de Kort. "The GC teams tried to keep their riders out the wind, so it was a big fight in the first group. We expected a move but weren't prepared right at that moment when Team Saxobank attacked. We put Tom Veelers in the chase but we couldn't come back anymore unfortunately. Not a good day for us; a pity."
Sergeant unhappy with positioning
Lotto Belisol manager Marc Sergeant was left unimpressed with the team's positioning during stage 13. Along with Team Sky, the Belgian-based squad took up the chase to the lead group of 14 riders, which included Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
"When Saxo placed a new coup with 30 km to go and only 14 riders were left, we had no one in front," explained Sergeant. "I have to say how it is: at that point André should only keep an eye on Sagan and Cavendish. They were in the break and he wasn't. And he should have been there as well."
Meantime, Greipel had earlier earned another 20 points at the day's intermediate sprint but with Cavendish and Sagan picking up 45 and 35 points respectively at the finish, the Cannondale man still holds at 84-point buffer over Cavendish, with Greipel another 56 points in arrears.
We're not sure what this is but...
The Belga news agency photographers were unable to provide images from Stage 13 after thieves broke into their car and stole almost all of their equipment.
Dirk Waem, currently in the midst of his seventh Tour de France, was perplexed by the incident.
"I have never experienced it," he told Belga, estimating his losses to be at least in the order of 50,000 euros.
The thieves broke into his car prior to Friday's stage which was parked in a designated press area, smashing through a rear window to access the equipment.
A number of thefts have so far occurred during to the Tour, with the Argos-Shimano team also victims leaving Waem to believe that the convoy is being specifically targeted.
Milestone for RadioShack Leopard staff
RadioShack Leopard directeur sportif Allain Gallopin and press officer Philippe Maertens were each awarded the Trophée de Fidélité (the Trophy of Loyalty) on Friday. The honour is presented to those each year once they have participated in 20 Tours de France with Gallopin and Maertens the latest recipients.