Orica GreenEdge bus fined for banner incident
The team of Orica GreenEdge, now likely to be better recognised by its team bus than its riders, has been reportedly handed a 1,600 euro fine after becoming stuck under the finishing banner in Bastia on Stage 1.
According to reports the driver was instructed by race officials to drive under the Vittel arch before it became wedged across the finish line. The incident occurred in the final kilometers of the stage with race organisers scrambling to resolved the situation. The bus was eventually reversed back and out of the way just minutes before the race came into sight.
The team’s reaction to the near-disastrous start to this year's Tour can be read here.
Evans finding race rhythm while van Garderen takes a tumble
While the sprinter teams were fighting it out for position at the end of the opening stage the BMC squad could be seen on the opposite side of the road with Cadel Evans being safely piloted towards the finish. As the chaos ensued in the final kilometers Evans was kept tucked out of the trouble and eventually crossed the line with the front group, in 23rd place.
The former Tour champion hasn't raced since finishing third overall at the Giro d'Italia but said he was more or less pleased with how he felt during the 213km stage.
"Race speed is always difficult to train for, but I'm really happy with physically how it started off," said Evans on his team site. "The guys are all riding really well, which is also important."
Evans' teammate and second in command, Tejay van Garderen was not so lucky. Following the wheel of road world champion Philippe Gilbert, last year's best young rider hit the ground and suffered superficial wounds.
"We were doing our best to stay out of trouble but you just can't avoid everything," said van Garderen. "All things considered, I think I came away really lucky. All my joints are working, no bones are broken; I have a couple of scabs, but that's about it."
Kristoff oh-so-close, ready to try again in Stage 2
Second-place to Marcel Kittel on the opening day of racing was one of this year's most consistent sprinters Alexander Kristoff. The former champion of Norway took his biggest win to date just prior to the start of the Grand Depart at the Tour de Suisse and while he appeared to be distraught after coming so close to winning the opening stage in Bastia, the 25-year-old believes he'll have another opportunity on Stage 2.
"I stayed too much time with the face-wind - said Kristoff - so I lost many energies and in the end I was a bit tired. Anyways, I managed to come back to the first positions: but when I wanted to start my rush I was closed. As soon as I saw a chance to sprint I did it, but I saw that Kittel was really fast. Moreover, he's usually faster than me when the finish line is flat because I'm less explosive than him. But I'm satisfied anyways with my performance. I'm in a good shape, so tomorrow let's see what's going to happen".
Mollema narrowly misses collision with light post
Bauke Mollema was another casualty from the crash-marred finale of Stage 1 but it could have been much worse, according to his Belkin teammate Laurens ten Dam.
"I was in the middle of the peloton and saw the crash. I didn't have any problems but I saw how lucky Bauke was. If he would have hit the light post it might have been over and out for him," he said after the race before adding he wasn't aware of the situation with the bus.
"I did not really know much about the bus on the finish line. I heard something was wrong but I thought it was some kind of French strike again."
Mollema however, needed to change his bike after the fall which saw him nearly collide with a light post on the left side of the road.
"Happily, I don't have that much from the fall - just a few scratches. When I saw them go down in front of me, I knew that I could not stop in time so I tried to jump the curb. That did not go exactly as planned as I ended up taking a Lampre rider out. My bike was trashed. I finished out the stage on Bram Tankink's bike."
Maillot jaune sends support to Tony Martin
Marcel Kittel could have been forgiven for being a little pre-occupied after taking his first Tour de France stage win and in the process pulling on the first race leader's jersey of the 100th edition but the German had time to check up on the status of his countryman Tony Martin - who was one of the worst after crashing inside the final kilometres.
"Earlier Marcel Kittel sent me a text message and told me to get well. That really helped me a lot and made me happy. At the moment of the biggest success in his career he thought of me and that is not something that happens every day. I hope I can continue tomorrow," said Martin on Facebook.
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