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By Jonathan Vaughters, Crédit Agricole cycling team
The first week of the Tour de France is always full of crashes. It’s just an accepted part of the race. I just wish it weren’t, though.
Crashes in pro’ bikin’ are no fun. Unlike when I was a junior and I overlapped someone’s’ wheel and scraped myself up, crashes at this level tend to be into fixed objects at 40 miles an hour. Everyone ends up either in a ditch or in an ambulance and the rest jump up to catch the peloton as fast as they can so they won’t miss next wreck.
It’s a little ironic, how dangerous it is to ride a bike with a bunch of people who make hundreds of thousands of dollars to ride bikes. In terms of safety I’ll take a Category 5 criterium any day. Hell, put me in a leaky blimp with a lit blowtorch, and I’d still feel safer.
Anyhow, Christophe went down again today and messed his back up even more. I guess that is another nail in the pine box. I gotta say it was an impressive chute (that means “crash” is French. Parachute literally translates into “stop crash,” which is what we need right now).
I think Christophe’s crash started about 15 guys from the front, with Zabel and Freire bouncing off each other. By the time I got there, I barely needed to brake. But then I soon realized not all was happy, as I saw Christophe rumpled in mess of bikes. Ouch.
I also crashed today, but luckily it was a much slower affair. A few guys went down in front of me, just as I was sucking down some power goo stuff and had one hand away from the brakes. This led to me not really slowing al that much as I plowed into poor Kevin Livingston.
We were both okay, but I had to change bikes which took a while. I didn’t really think I had much chance of catching up, but then our mechanic “adjusted” my rear brake for quite a while, all the time holding on to my seatpost – just to make sure I was stable of course. It was simply a nice coincidence that the mechanic happened to be checking my brakes just as the car was cruising uphill at 50mph.
Later, as we got closer to the caravan, I summoned the doctor’s car to check my boo boo’s, and this time I had to hold on to the car as he sprayed antiseptic on to my huge 2 cm scratch on my elbow.
With all this necessary medical assistance, and mechanical trouble I was soon freewheeling my way back into the peloton. All just in time for another crash… .