Cavendish Plays construction worker, Nibali shows classic Italian passion still has a place in cycling and Kittel proves he’s the fastest man in the world
Late in Stage 1 Cavendish believed that paving a passing lane took precedent over cycling.
Coming up the final incline to the finish, Cavendish found himself behind big Marcel Kittel. Cavendish knew that, with 200 meters left, he had to get around Kittel. There was only problem… Australian Simon Gerrans was driving in that other lane. To make room, Cavendish put the top of his helmet into Gerrans’ chin at 35mph. Cavendish worked a little too quickly and they both went down, hard. Cavendish remained on the ground for a while before sheepishly, and no doubt in great pain, crossing the line to a round of applause by his countrymen. No doubt a tribute to the record number of victories he had given to them, but also a sanguine round of applause for what could have been. Up the road Marcel Kittel took the stage just as he did on Day 1 of last year’s Tour.
In the bumpy and long Stage 2 a flexing of the overall contenders’ muscles and an emerging selfie craze was in store. Many people believed that some overall contenders might come near the front. I don’t think anyone thought that there would be quite such a sorting out of the overall contenders. As the effects of a selfie crazed world showed through to the refined land of tea and crumpets and the gentleman’s event of the tour as several riders slapped phones out of the spectators hands. Ramunas Navardauskas actually looked like he quite enjoyed it. See video:
As the race neared its completion and the steep Jenkin Road began, a who’s who of the Yellow Jersey favorites began to appear at the front of the race. At the foot of the climb, Sagan had his Cannondale team at the front to get him into a position to possibly launch an attack. But as the short (800m), steep (30% in some areas) climb developed it became apparent that it might be too much for Sagan and Cannondale to control. None other than THE Alberto Contador moved to the front with his dancing pedaling style, out of the saddle, his head on a swivel to see where everyone else was. Chris Froome emerged, Tejay Van Garderen, Vincenzo Nibali, Andrew Talansky.. did I say who’s who, all came to the front. Contador didn’t attack but set a high tempo at the front instead. Along the right hand barriers Froome attacked and Van Garderen was right on his wheel. The attack was shut down pretty quickly as soon the group was all back together. Coming off of the climb Sagan remained towards the front of the newly formed group of slightly fewer than a dozen riders. Then from a stealthy 9th wheel with about 1.5 k to go Nibali launched the fatal attack to gap the field by a few seconds and take the yellow jersey.
Stage 3..England’s equivalent to The Champs Elysee.. Marcel Kittel put his Giant Shimano team on the front and stormed to victory at Buckingham Palace. With that victory he solidified the usurping of Cavendish as fastest man in the world and will now be the man to beat in the coming half decade.