“It’s hard to believe, but the riders here are racing so hard – nervous and aggressive. It’s like this is the biggest race of the year… or maybe the last?”
That was the astonished Sep Vanmarcke, right after the today’s stage, trying to explain the mayhem that had unfolded for the second day in a row. Mayhem which included a series of crashes and an out-of-control sprint finish, where our sprinter, Rudy Barbier, crossed the line in 4th place.
The luckiest guy around was probably our Canadian Guillaume Boivin (although don’t try to convince him of that). G was supposed to be a key figure in our lead-out train, but riders in the nervous peloton went down going 70 km/h – right in front of him! He crashed after hitting a rider who was lying on the asphalt and FLIPPED OVER. We saw it from the team car and froze.
We were so relieved to see G get up and remount his bike. “I hit my knee, but I’m kind of ok,” he said. “It was a big front flip. I guess we can say I was lucky, but it still sucks. Not fun at all.”
The next crash smashed all hope for an organized lead-out, and Rudy ended driving it in by himself, covering a lot of ground in the last few hundred meters but without a real chance to win. “We can do this better,” said Vanmarcke. Tomorrow’s stage 3 will be the next chance to improve. “We will try again, and this time with a better result,” promised Barbier.