The Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda team began this Tour de France in great position after the opening prologue. But like many previous Tours, the opening road stages are wrought with danger. Fortunately through the first three stages Ryder Hesjedal has escaped the bad luck and sits in great position on the overall in eighth!
After putting two in the top-20 of the prologue time trial, led by Hesjedal in 15th, the argyle went into the first stages with many cards to play. Strong teamwork by Robbie Hunter gave Tyler Farrar the set-up to contend for the sprints on the first stages, but the chaos of the field sprints and irregular riding barred him from a clean shot to the line.
Yet the team was happy to have all riders finishing safely and not have any GC riders losing any time. Then on the third stage the first week gremlins came out in force with punctures and crashes tormenting the team.
Hesjedal punctured and the team was quick to get him back into the group. Then three crashes, two in succession, put Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and Dan Martin off the back. Danielson took the worst of it separating his shoulder. Still the tough-as-nails Danielson was able to finish the stage. Vande Velde and Martin fought hard chasing with teammates to reclaim as much lost time as possible.
“It was quite crazy there in the end,” said Farrar. “A lot of bad luck for our team”
“First Ryder had a wheel change and we waited for him and chased. Then I crashed, then Christian and Danielson… We rode by ourselves until we finished.”
Danielson’s status for stage 4 is uncertain as it is the same shoulder he injured in his 2007 Vuelta crash. “Tom’s health is the priority and the team will make a determination in the morning as to whether he will start the stage,” said team doctor Prentice Steffen.
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