Chavanel Escapes to Stage 2 Win in 2010 Tour de France and Takes Overall Tour Lead
Armstrong crashes but is fifth in race standings. Schleck brothers crash too. Tour de France peloton shows wussbag reaction.
Lance Armstrong and several other Tour de France contenders were caught up in a series of crashes Monday during a rain-splattered second stage won by new race leader Sylvain Chavanel of France .
In one of the spills, Armstrong and defending Tour champion Alberto Contador of Spain tumbled to the asphalt on a slippery descent from the mid-grade Stockeu Pass toward the end of the 201-kilometer run from Brussels to Spa. Both sustained scrapes but finished the stage and were ok, their teams said.
Armstrong returned to the RadioShack team bus with his team outfit torn and a bloody scrape on his thigh.
"You had people everywhere. It was surreal. When I got back on my bike ... I saw crash, after crash, after crash," Armstrong said, noting riders laid out on the ground. "It was like war."
"There was no way to stay on the bike," he added, saying he sustained an abrasion on his hip. "There was something on the road ... I was scared. I think everybody was scared."
RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel said Armstrong also hurt an elbow - though not the same elbow the seven-time Tour champion had injured in a crash in the Tour of California in May.
"Riding downhill was almost like ice-skating," Bruyneel said, adding that RadioShack's Andreas Kloeden and Levi Leipheimer also fell. "Almost half of the peloton crashed today," Bruyneel said.
Equally unlucky was 2009 Tour runner-up Andy Schleck. The Luxembourg rider appeared to injure his elbows in another spill. He returned to the race and rejoined the pack after race leader in yellow Fabian Cancellara surprisingly was allowed to control the peloton and force the riders to slow down and wait for the Schleck brothers and other riders who had crashed. This happened in spite of the fact that no riders were seriously hurt or in real danger.
Cervelo TestTeam's Norwegian God of Thunder Thor Hushovd told Roadcycling.com after the stage "I feel frustrated by what happened today. Our team was working hard and we would have had a good chance for victory. I feel like they have taken something away from us today. There were a few sprinters who did not make it to the front group, but there was no reason to not contest the sprint today. Everyone made a gentleman's agreement not to sprint, but I lost an important opportunity to try to win the stage and gain points."
British rider Jeremy Hunt said "We pulled at the front all day. We all managed to get through. It was just chaos. In the end, they didn't want to sprint. I cannot understand why. Hopefully there will be no points awarded for today's stage. It's going to be chaos again tomorrow."
Had a rider fallen of a mountain side, or if a rider was in danger of suffering permanent damage, then of course the other riders should slow down and the stage be neutralized, but certainly not in situations such as this one. In recent years the new rider generations have been more and more wussbagish and the Tour