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Rogers road: Mathematically impossible

I've got one big hope for tomorrow as the centenary Tour de France (and my first) continues with stage two: That the peloton relaxes a bit. Then again, maybe I'm dreaming. The ground is pretty hard, as the massive crash in today's finish at Meaux showed. If riders keep racing like they did today, I think everyone is going to go down at some point this Tour. Me? I was right in the middle of the spill, at about 30th wheel. I don't know what happened, except one important fact: I didn’t go down.I was just lucky I didn't. I’m still not sure why, but I managed to avoid the worst of it, while

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By Michael Rogers, Quick Step professional cycling team

On the road to Meaux

On the road to Meaux

Photo: Graham Watson

I’ve got one big hope for tomorrow as the centenary Tour de France (and my first) continues with stage two: That the peloton relaxes a bit.

Then again, maybe I’m dreaming.

The ground is pretty hard, as the massive crash in today’s finish at Meaux showed. If riders keep racing like they did today, I think everyone is going to go down at some point this Tour.

Me? I was right in the middle of the spill, at about 30th wheel. I don’t know what happened, except one important fact: I didn’t go down.I was just lucky I didn’t. I’m still not sure why, but I managed to avoid the worst of it, while riders were falling and crashing everywhere around me. The bunch was so nervous it wasn’t funny. They say it is like this in the first stage of a Tour every year. But for a first-timer like me, that doesn’t stop the flighty nature of the pack having some impact. And don’t think it was just in the last kilometers after the daylong break was finally reeled in that the nerves ran high. It was that way from the very start. As people got more and more tired, it became more and more dangerous.

But I guess with the Tour being the biggest race in the world, everyone wants to win in it and that leads to risks many riders wouldn’t normally take to get the best position.

The risks are further heightened with the Tour this year entering the mountains sooner that normal (we reach the Alps on Friday on the stage from Lyon to Morzine). Because of that, the sprinters all know they have fewer opportunities to win – less time as well.

Certainly, a lot of people want to win straight away.

The speed, which today averaged 44.890kmh, may be a tiny bit quicker than other races, but it wasn’t the speed, it was the nervousness within the pack at that speed which made it dangerous.

Basically, it comes down to the fact that each one of the 198 riders wants to stay in the top-10 positions. Mathematically, it doesn’t work.

It was clear from the start that the best approach to my first real Tour stage was to ride safely. Apart from the crash, it all made for a relatively easy day. I stayed in the group and tried to keep out of the wind as much as possible.

It helped, too, that the race was tactically pretty standard: break went and the sprint teams controlled the race by bringing it back.

Oh yeah! … and the crowds were fantastic. Why, it’s just like the Tour Down Under back home in Australia!

No, only kidding, this Tour is on a much bigger scale.