Stage nine of the Tour de France took place yesterday from Arras-Roubaix, with 156.5km of route, 15 sectors of cobbles totalling 21.7km and a whole lot of chaos unfolding along the way.
It’s the one that everyone has been waiting for since the route for this year was announced along time ago, with some cycling fans arguing the cobbles have no place in the Tour while others applauded the prospect of the carnage that would no doubt - and which did - take place over the course of the stage.
There were always going to be some Tour de France crashes on the cobbles and with the top speeds of the Tour de France scarily high at times, there was a good chance some of them were going to be bad as well. That proved the case.
In the end, the crashes started way before the cobbles. A crash in the peloton saw whole hosts of riders come down, including Richie Porte, who broke his collarbone and had to abandon the Tour de France for the second year in a row. Poor Ritchie.
You could argue that this crash doesn’t play much into the argument about the cobbles on the Tour, as Richie crashed on the straight - but the nerves from the start of the race no doubt had a big impact on the fact this crash even happened in the peloton in the first place.
Romain Bardet had a lot of bad luck on the cobbles. Romain had numerous bike swaps, a full three punctures (at least?) and the fact he lost only seven seconds on his main rivals is actually quite miraculous when you take all of that into account.
Egan Bernal in Team Sky colours took a tumble, losing a full 16 minutes and suffering a huge blow to his hopes of taking the white jersey.
Winner of past two stages, sprinter Dylan Groenewegen crashed but was able to continue.
Chris Froome was amongst those who came off at a corner, though it wasn’t bad as he rolled onto the grass and caught back up with the group. There were whole heaps of crashes on the cobbles. Team Sky rider Michal Kwiatkowski in particular hit the ground very hard.
Mikel Landa hit hard on a straight tarmac stage. He was taking a drink when there was an overlap of wheels which meant he went down very hard.Tweet
Spanish rider Gorka Izaguirre found his rear wheel was buckling and one look at it made it look more like it had been picked from a scrapyard than a Tour de France ride.
The win came down to the last 300m in the end, and the man in yellow Greg Van Avermaet was there but John Degenkolb pipped him and took his first ever Tour de France stage victory, three years after winning there at Paris-Roubaix. Greg Van Avermaet finished off the stage in second and will have been disappointed not to take the stage win, but content with his overall performance and ready for another day in yellow after the rest day on 16 July.
Greg Van Avermaet is 43 seconds ahead of Geraint Thomas - who surprisingly, given his history with bad luck and crashes, made it through the stage unscathed - in second place. Chris Froome meanwhile moved up to eight place overall, 1:42 behind Van Avermaet, and with the current leader not a threat in the mountains, the Team Sky talisman will be eyeing up that yellow jersey.
It was cobbled, it was dusty, and nearly every man in the race looked like he'd been through the wars as he crossed the finish line... but we're also inclined to say it was, by far, the most entertaining stage of the race yet.
You May Also Like