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Cycling News and Opinion
July 8, 2014

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

Andy Schleck Abandons 2014 Tour de France

2010 Tour winner (after Alberto Contador had been stripped of the title) Andy Schleck will not start stage four of the 2014 Tour de France. Schleck fell hard in the later part of stage three as the peloton was racing on wet London streets. He suffered damage to the meniscus and ligament of his right knee. He'll travel to Basel for medical consultations.

Andy and Frank Schleck

Andy (left) and Frank Schleck at the pre-tour press conference. Photo ©Sirotti

Schleck has never failed to finish a Tour and has made the Tour podium three times. He is the third rider to quit this year's Grand Boucle, after Mark Cavendish crashed and Lampre's Sacha Modolo came down with a nasty virus.

Chris Froome to get X-Ray

Defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome crashed heavily early in today's stage four. Team Sky boos Dave Brailsford said, "He felt well, but we are taking im for an X-ray just to check his wrist". Froome fell on his left side bruised his hip, shoulder knee and elbow.

This is the same side that Froome fell on when he crashed in this year's Dauphiné and injured his back.

Update: After getting his wrist X-rayed, doctors could not see any bone breaks. Therefore Chris Froome is cleared to start Wednesday's stage with its nine cobbled sectors. Froome said, "The wrist is painful and it’s certainly not ideal going into tomorrow’s cobbled stage – but I have a great team around me and we’ll get through the next few days as best we can.

"One of the riders in front of me overlapped the wheel of another rider and caught my front wheel. I didn’t have time to react and I before I knew it I was on the ground. But that’s bike racing and I’m pleased I’ll be back on the race tomorrow."

Bad luck for Lotto-Belisol

As André Greipel's Lotto-Belisol squad took charge of the peloton for the final kilometers, three of the team's riders went down: Greg Henderson, Bart de Clercq and Lays Ytting Bak. Henderson fell so hard he had to abandon.

Henderson is Greipel's main leadout man, his "pilot-fish", as team manger Marc Sergeant called him. Without Henderson, Sergeant says, "it's our train train that derailed in the final.

Sagan's Saga

Peter Sagan crashed with about fifteen kilometers to go. He made his way back to the pelton and as the pack's speed ramped up for the finale, he was able to get to the front and get onto Marcel Kittel's wheel. That was an astounding accomplishment that yielded him fourth place today.

About the adventure, Sagan said, "Well, I can say I'm happy for the result, I did a good sprint and I took important points, especially after the crash I had around the 15th kilometer. Honestly, it was my mistake. I took the right side of a roundabout, the road was wet and I slid down. I suffered few bruises on [my] right leg and arm - I hope [I] don't suffer any problems during next days.

"Tomorrow it will be an hard and very nervous day. We'll race on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, but I think we'll be a different race compared to the Classic. I expect the GC riders and their teams to take the lead of the race. And this will create a lot of traffic and tension in the peloton for the positions. It will be a though day and we'll need good luck. For the results, of course, it could be a stage suited for me, but it will be too unpredictable. We'll see how it will go".