An impressive number of falls marked the first stage caught by the rain around Nice. No serious injuries, but a lot of sores and stress to evacuate despite a long neutralization by the Jumbo-Visma.
At this level, let's not hesitate to talk about art. Stall of the rear wheel, spectacular recovery, light stroke of the racket, release of the pedals, straight ahead and final impact against the traffic sign! Fortunately, it did not indicate a prohibited parking or Miguel Angel Lopez would also have been entitled to a plum. Unanimously by the judges, and with the maximum technical score in "execution" and "emotion", the Colombian won in the "free fall" categories after his little masterpiece of the Tourette-Levens descent. The award has not yet been officially established, but the Urgo, Mercurochrome and Syntol houses have been approached by ASO salespeople. After all, if the frequency and "quality" of the bowls is maintained, it would be silly not to take advantage of it, right? The leader of the Astana, while waiting for a more traditional bouquet, has the merit of winning during a first stage where the "victory" was far from being acquired because of the number of contenders for pizza, burns and others. sores listed.
Tony Martin decrees the truce
We take the liberty of commenting on this "Holiday on Nice" in such a light tone because no rider has been relieved with really serious injuries. The Lopez episode happened when Tony Martin, a very experienced agent of the Jumbo-Visma security service had just decreed (like Cancellara in 2010 on the spa rink) a health truce, a word that became very fashionable this summer. on the Tour.
A little earlier, his comrade George Bennett had already made the remark to Omar Fraile but the Astanas were chomping at the bit. So, after a few kilometers they did it again, briefly, since the immediate sanction without damage to their leader prompted them to a little restraint afterwards. Since the onset of the rain, on "greasy" roads, the riders could no longer hold onto their bikes, which had become very capricious. The Jumbo family decided that this would be enough for everyone, right down to the bottom of the descent to the Var plain.
Pavel Sivakov (twice on the ground hit left side, then right ...) had the most painful baptism you can imagine for a rookie. Latour, Cosnefroy, Amador, Pozzovivo, Arndt, De Gendt, Ewan, Ledanois, Gilbert, Gesink, Erviti, Bennett and others have tasted without pleasure the sweet and sour seasoning of a nicoise salad too copiously served. A wink from the green-toothed witch, who since the Pellos years has been tormenting runners, the Jumbo New Zealander slipped again as everyone, on his very firm "advice" drove in slow motion ...
It's time for Pinot ...
The race management then very quickly decided to freeze the times for the stage, relieving the pressure from the last kilometers on the Promenade des Anglais. This reassuring decision, however, did not prevent the castle from collapsing one last time with Thibaut Pinot as a star flayed (multiple starts, trauma to the knee and right shoulder) and eyes more than gloomy in the last few meters. Gaudu, Declercq, Hirschi, De la Cruz and Soler have joined the ranks of the crippled, not all of them will have had a good night before a second very tough episode in Nice.
In small groups and in old road sprinter, Alexander Kristoff took the right wheel, that of Bol to easily resist the world champion Mads Pedersen. Here he is in yellow at 33 years old. Not for long, but forever.