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The FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope rider was caught behind a crash, though not involved in it, inside the final 30 kilometers when she was hit from behind at high-speed by Nicole Frain (Parkhotel-Valkenburg), who had been returning to the bunch from another crash.
Cavalli was on the ground for some time before finally getting back on her bike. The Italian wanted to continue riding to the finish, but the team decided to pull her out for her own safety.
“We are in contact with her Marta called me two times. Yes, it’s a big commotion, it’s hard but we don’t want to play,” team manager Stephen Delcourt said.
“She wanted to continue but the team said ‘no,’ we don’t want to play with the life of the rider. Cycling is just a part of life, but it’s not a priority. Now, our doctor and physio are with Marta and they go to the hospital for scans. We want the best for her.”
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With crosswinds on the menu, stage 2 from Meaux to Provins was a tense affair for the peloton. As the speed ramped up for the final hour of racing with the roads narrowing through villages, crashes caused chaos in the bunch and caused it to split up.
Cavalli’s incident occurred when three riders came down in front of her and she slowed to navigate her way around them. Frain came through on the left side of Cavalli, clipping her on the shoulder and causing her to come sideways off her bike and land on her back.
“It was very nervous, it’s the second day of the Tour de France, and for many women, it is very important. It’s the first big chance and an opportunity for the future,” Delcourt said. “Marta was not in a good position, she did not want to risk anything in this period and one rider came back after one crash arrived and I don’t think she saw Marta, and the second crash and she arrived at maybe 50 and Marta was at 5 or 6 (kph) and boom. I have no words, because when you see images like this it is very hard.”
Cavalli wasn’t the only fall for FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope in what was a challenging day for the team.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was caught up in an incident just a few kilometers later, and ultimately lost 1:38 to the leading group and just over a minute to the main peloton. Evita Muzic was then involved in another fall soon after that.
It was a bruising day for the home squad that came to the Tour de France Femmes with big ambitions, but Delcourt vowed that the team would come back fighting.
“We are really disappointed but, first, we will focus on Marta’s condition. It’s really hard to see images like this. If you can imagine a member of your family when you see that. I had a big chat with Marta’s mother and father in Italy, I think the TV images were replayed a lot of times,” he said.
“Ok, we lost a battle for the race, but the most important thing is Marta. We support her as a priority and for the sporting side we will come back stronger tomorrow.”