Garmin-Cervélo survived a rough and tumble day at the Tour de France that saw American time trial champion Dave Zabriskie crash out of the race with a broken wrist.
Thor Hushovd’s week-long run in the maillot jaune finally ended after a three-man breakaway held clear to the line in the hilly, 208km ninth stage from Issoire to Saint-Flour across France’s Massif Central. A big mid-stage crash that saw some big names crash out of the Tour disrupted the pace of the chase. The main pack rode slowly to allow injured riders to regain contact, an act of solidarity that cost Hushovd a chance to try to defend the yellow jersey on the short, uphill run to the finish line in Saint-Flour.
“It’s been a fantastic run in the yellow jersey. I was able to keep it long than I expected,” Hushovd said, who slipped to 24th overall. “It was a hard stage and we had the situation under control, but when the accident happened, we respected the situation and waited for the guys to come back. Then it was game-over for the yellow jersey.”
Christian Vande Velde also hit the deck in the crash-filled stage, but managed to finish the stage and roll into Monday’s rest stage still well-positioned in the overall GC.
“We had everything go right for a week and now everything went wrong in one day,” said Vande Velde, who crashed but was able to finish the stage to settle into 19th overall. “We wanted to get Millar in the breakaway, but he crashed before it went. Half our team crashed, it was very unfortunate. I feel horrible for those who are out of the race. I was never the same after that.”
David Millar also crashed early in the stage at 40km, but was able to finish the stage. Tom Danielson remains well-positioned with 17th overall going into the second half of the Tour.
Garmin-Cervélo sport director Jonathan Vaughters was philosophical about the stage and reminded everyone there is still a lot of racing before reaching Paris on July 23.
“It’s hard to see our guys go down, but tat’s part of bike racing. That’s what makes this sport so beautiful. One day you’re on top and the next things don’t go as planned, but there’s always another day to keep racing,” Vaughters said.
“I think the rest of our guys are OK. Tomorrow is the rest day, so that will give us a chance to recover. We still have goals for this Tour. We have some sprint stages for Thor and Tyler and we still have our GC options in the mountains. This Tour is far from over.”
Garmin-Cervélo enjoys the first of two rest days on Monday. After a short training ride, the team will have the chance to recover and take a breather from the intense racing. Action resumes Tuesday with the 158km 10th stage from Aurillac to Carmaux. The rolling course pushes south across the Massif Central, with four moderate climbs that could produce another bunch sprint ideal for Tyler Farrar.
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