ABBEVILLE, France (VN) — Garmin-Sharp is putting its best foot forward following “Black Tuesday,” a day that saw several of the team’s GC riders suffer crashes and lost time.
Giro d’Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal dodged a bullet and remained in the top 10 overall, but Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and Daniel Martin all lost valuable time that dramatically changes the outlook for Garmin.
“It’s a little unfortunate that we lost our ‘plan B,’” Garmin sport director Allan Peiper told VeloNews on Wednesday morning. “It’s not catastrophic. The one guy who needed to be safe was safe. Ryder didn’t lose time, so that’s OK. We’re still in the hunt.”
Peiper confirmed to VeloNews that Danielson would start Wednedsay’s fourth stage and the Boulder, Colorado-based American rolled out from Abbeville, head toward Rouen.
Danielson, who rode to a breakthrough top-10 result in his Tour debut last year, separated his shoulder on Tuesday in a fall in the closing hour of racing. Danielson rode to the finish line with his right arm dangling at his side and lost more than nine minutes, ending his GC aspirations.
X-rays confirmed there were no broken bones and team doctors have taped Danielson’s shoulder.
“Tom is going to start. He slept well and he looks fine, he looks recovered, so he’s going to start and see how it goes on the road,” Peiper said. “It’s too bad for him, because that is a lot of time to lose.”
Vande Velde also crashed and chased in vain to regain contact with the group to try to limit his damage, but ceded 2:08 to fall to 58th, at 2:29 back. Martin lost time as well, meaning that now all of Garmin’s GC hopes are on Hesjedal’s shoulders.
“Two minutes for Christian, that’s not the end of the world for him. He can still soldier on,” Peiper said. “It would have been a lot different picture had Ryder lost that much time.”
Hesjedal was caught up behind one of the major pileups during the crash-laden stage on narrow, wind-swept roads, but he was able to finish with the leaders to remain in contention in ninth, at 18 seconds back.
“Yeah, I crashed with Tyler. I almost crashed really bad and I had to pull so much that my back tire exploded. We got a wheel change and chased back. Right when we got back, me and Tyler crashed again,” Hesjedal told VeloNews. “It’s the same as always during this first week. No one learns.”
It’s not the best way to start the Fourth of July for American-backed Garmin-Sharp, but the team is putting its best foot forward.
“They’re all pros. They know that shit happens and yesterday was our day,” Peiper said. “We’re still motivated to race. We’re not putting up the white flag or anything like that.”
With three sprint stages on tap, the team will lick its wounds and ride to protect Tyler Farrar, who just so happened to win his first Tour stage last year on the Fourth of July.