The chaotic start to the 100th Tour de France immediately brought to the forefront cycling’s inherent dangers. For all of its strategies, team interplay and expected sprint finishes, anything can happen.
And, of course, it did. The stuck Orica-GreenEdge team bus at the finish line in Corsica prompted the move of the finish to 3km from the original finish. When the bus was finally moved, the original finish was reinstated.
The situation didn’t do much to help the already nervous peloton. Favorites have crashed before in the opening stage of the Tour de France. Cattle guards, wayward policemen, stray dogs and cyclists’ bad moves have all caused crashes. But a stuck bus?
The status of race favorites’ injuries won’t be fully known until the start of stage 2. But what a shame if Dan Martin, Alberto Contador or any other rider’s hopes are thwarted. Blame it on nothing else but the law of averages in the enormity of the Tour de France.
Here are five other quick, random observations as the 100th Tour de France has just begun:
1. Race radios? The event is so big, how can the Tour do anything else but all it can to least try to prevent catastrophe via communication? The sport is just different now. Radios? No radios? Is there really a choice?
2. Team officials from BMC backed away from directly answering questions about Lance Armstrong’s newspaper rants prior to the start of stage 1. But Tejay van Garderen, 24, the blossoming American star, wasn’t fazed. He spoke his mind, and did it well. Bravo.
3. I’d like to be in on any conversation Jens Voigt, 41, the oldest rider in the race, has with Danny van Poppel, 19, the youngest.
4. Not wishing bad luck to Mark Cavendish or any other sprinter. But Marcel Kittel in the yellow jersey is refreshing.
5. Those monstrous team motorhomes somehow make it around and over the windy, slick, narrow, no-rail roads of the Alps and Pyrenees. But not a wide open road? Vive Le Tour.