Was there another tack attack on the Tour de France on Wednesday? After vandals wreaked havoc on stage 14 of the 2012 race, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas suffered punctures on stage five around 60 kilometres from the finish in Marseille. Saxo-Tinkoff riders are also believed to have been affected, CW understands. “I don’t know if it’s someone [like last year] or by an accident,” Sky DS Nicolas Portal said. “It’s not like last year; maybe it’s just a mistake.”
Orica-GreenEdge owner, Gerry Ryan said to Cycling Weekly this morning, “We just signed Daryl [Impey] for three more years.” But maybe not… General manager, Shayne Bannan disagreed. Asked about the contract, Bannan said that they are still working with Impey on it and are hoping to have something signed too. Ryan, asked later, said, “Really? Let me ask Shayne.” Impey has not signed yet. He appears close to an agreement, which would be for more money after donning the yellow jersey.
Geraint Thomas looks to be slowly coming around from his injuries. The Welshman suffered a small fracture to his pelvis after falling during the Corsican stages but soldiered on nonetheless. According to Team Sky staff, the injury is being managed with physio and he’s getting a bit better with every stage he rides.
He was looking pretty comfortable when he rolled past us in the convoy today. Sky race coach Rod Ellingworth says that Thomas should be good to try and complete the Tour. However, there have been suggestions he’s just putting on a brave face to help shepherd Chris Froome through the opening week, then planning to pull out in the Pyrenees.
What do Nacer Bouhanni, Maxime Bouet and Ryder Hesjedal have in common? They all spent time Wednesday night outside the Tour medical centre, which unfortunately for them happened to be next to the press room. Cue a handful of assorted media watching their every move. Bouhanni (FDJ) was the first rider to be seen at the lorry-turned-medical-room limping with bandages around the bottom of his left leg. Meanwhile Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) tried to eat a tray of pasta with his right hand – he had broken his arm in a crash during the stage.
Hesjedal told CW he was there to get x-rayed because the pain from a stage one crash was getting worse. It turns out he has a fractured rib. He also appears to have turned into Bradley Wiggins, as he told us on Thursday morning (using one of Wiggins’ favourite lines): “It is what it is. It doesn’t really change anything. It’s good to know.” He may like to note that Bouet was a DNS for stage six to Montpellier and Bouhanni abandoned around halfway through the stage.
The Tour’s daily medical communiqué shows that doctors on the race are being kept on their toes. Patient confidentiality means nothing here and – from Nacer Bouhanni’s digestive troubles to Maarten Wynants insect bitten thigh – there were no less than 12 riders and their symptoms documented on today’s doctor’s log.
Joaquim Rodriguez fell during Thursday’s sixth stage, suffering bruising to his left arm. “I hope that it is nothing,” said the Katusha rider, who finished in the peloton. “It hurts me that both the body and my legs are in pain.”
It wasn’t just Astana’s riders who were falling off today. CW ran over a large part of their satellite dish on the A7 motorway this afternoon as the high winds forced it away from the team bus. We survived unscathed – but thank you for the concern.
French betting company PMU used Wednesday’s stage start near the Cote d’Azur horse racing track at Cagnes-sur-Mer to celebrate the 60th year of green jersey and the organisation’s association with the Tour. Peter Sagan, the current wearer of the jersey, was amongst several dignitaries presented with a book called the Passion Maillot Vert.
Garmin-Sharp’s Tour debutant Rohan Dennis is riding this year’s race with his nickname scribbled on his helmet in felt-tip pen. The name ‘Dirty Dennis’ was coined by the 23 year-old’s former teammate on the Australian AIS programme, Jack Bobridge, although he wouldn’t say why. “It could have been a lot worse!” Dennis told CW.
Photos of the Tour caravan by Andy Jones. The Tour’s caravan isn’t a small white home on wheels, but a procession of promotional vehicles that travels the length of each stage every day, hading out free gifts and blaring out loud music to the roadside fans as they wait for a glimpse of their favourite riders. It takes around 45 minutes to pass through, compared to about four seconds for the peloton.
Tour de France 2013: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index