Monday, 5 July 2010

Popular French rider Chavanel wins stage two and grabs the Mailot Jaune as crashes continue to wreak havoc

When a lone rider broke away from the peloton at around 10km into todays stage, the 7 riders who chased him down to form the 8 man breakaway had no idea that one of them would end the day not only the stage winner but wearer of the Race Leaders jersey, topping the GC leader board at the end of the day.

The route to Spa saw light showers wreak havoc on the peloton that suffered what seemed like a never ending series of crashes. Early in the afternoon Mickael Delage (OLO) was forced to abandon his race following a crash on the 3rd descent that brought down several riders. Later, as they headed into Spa, several riders that fell foul to the slippery slopes including Contodor (Astana), Armstrong (RadioShack) and both Schlecks (SaxoBank). The peloton fractured, decimated by the chaos that engulfed them. However, loyalty prevaled as the leading group slowed to allow the Schlecks to regroup, as they chose to leave the remaining lone breakaway rider, Sylvain Chavanel, to storm to victory.

Fabian Cancellara sacrificed his leaders jersey, holding back the peloton from chasing down Chavanel, with a rare glimpse of the comaraderie that the riders feel as part of the travelling community. There was no jostle for places or points from the sprinters, as everybody came in together, which resulted in the only change to the GC being Chavenel's move up to first place.

In the points competition, Chavenel grabbed the lead having picked up the points as part of the breakaway and with his finish in first place. Behind him, several riders protested to tour organisers as they came across the finish about the conditions, which saw a motocade come down, allegedly the cause of the crash that took down the Schleck brothers and several other GC riders.

If they thought today was bad, they will not look forward to tomorrow, as they head into the territory of the Spring Classics, with roads normally the preserve of the Leige-Baston-Leige and the Paris-Roubaix, won earlier in the year by Vinocurov and Cancellara respectively.

Later edit: Farrar and Vande Velde taken to hospital for X-rays. Report of results to follow when later available.

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