Tour de France

Tour Notebook: Riders express solidarity, Rolland pulls plug on GC

Our Tour de France reporters already bring you the biggest stories and best analyses every day. But what of the notes they scrawl in the margins, those little bits of gossip and narrative that are as much a part of the Tour as Chris Froome and the color yellow, but…

Our Tour de France reporters already bring you the biggest stories and best analyses every day. But what of the notes they scrawl in the margins, those little bits of gossip and narrative that are as much a part of the Tour as Chris Froome and the color yellow, but which rarely see the light of day? You’ll find those here.

Notes from the margins

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Somber mood at finish
There were a lot of somber faces at the finish line Friday, and not a lot of celebration as France reeled from the Nice tragedy. Tour de France officials skipped the post-stage podium ceremony, and held a minute’s silence for the victims of the Nice attacks. There were no jersey celebrations, and later, all the leaders stood on the podium with black arm bands.

“It was the right decision to make about the podium,” said stage-winner Tom Dumoulin (Giant – Alpecin). “It was a special moment, because I am very sorry about what happened in Nice. It’s important that we pay respect to everyone involved. Cycling doesn’t seem very important compared to this. It’s a sad day.”

Green jersey Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) echoed those thoughts, saying, “It was more like a funeral than to celebrate something. We have to make some respect for the people who died yesterday in Nice. Who is doing that? Every month is worse in the world, I don’t understand what is happening.”

Sky’s Chris Froome added: “It was a very sad day for France, and my profound sentiments go out to all the families in Nice. I am very sad for France. This is close to home for me, because I do a lot of training down there. We express our solidarity for the people of France.”

Rolland now in stage-hunter mode
Pierre Rolland came into the Tour as a GC outsider, but a heavy crash in the Pyrénées caused by a slow puncture on a descent has forced the Cannondale – Drapac captain to reassess his options. After losing 5:56 in the time trial, the Frenchman now slips into stage-hunting mode after slipping to 18th at 12:28. “My GC aspirations are over. Now I will set other objectives,” Rolland said after the stage. “It’s been a hard decision to make, but after the last couple of day, I don’t have the capacity to follow the race due to my crash.”

No sporting comments from Froome
A clearly affected Chris Froome (Sky) refused to comment on his time trial performance. The yellow jersey lives in Monaco, and often trains on the hills above Nice. Other than a few brief statements, it’s the second day in a row Froome did not speak to the media about what’s been happening in the race.

“Everyone’s thoughts are with those affected down in Nice,” Froome said. “I think it’s difficult to even be here talking about the race when all that was happening yesterday in Nice. It’s pretty close to home for me, and I do a lot of training on those roads. To see the Promenade, with bodies all over the road, those were horrific scenes. My deepest condolences go out to those families who lost love ones in Nice.”

Three more out
The Tour de France peloton is three riders lighter. Simon Gerrans (Orica – BikeExchange) did not start following his heavy crash Thursday, leaving him with a broken collarbone. French star Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) did not start due to illness. Eduard Theuns (Trek – Segafredo) crashed during the windy time trial, and was transported to a local hospital. 187 riders remain in the race of 198 starters. Sam Bennett (Bora) is the last-place rider, just over three hours behind race leader Chris Froome (Sky).