The curious incident of the bus and finish line

In the eye of the storm it is impossible to think about anything but navigating through to safety.

The farcical end to the first stage of the 100th Edition of the Tour de France has put Orica GreenEdge, or more specifically it’s tour bus, at the eye of a monumental storm.

I can’t help but get the feeling that Marcel Kittel’s first stage win in the Tour will very quickly become a trivia question as most reporting on the opening stage has been hijacked by what is undoubtedly a very unfortunate incident.

In fact, I hate to say it, because the expression seems so inappropriate in light of the mass carnage that ensued, but it really does seem to have been a comedy of errors.

As the blame game swirls around Corsica like a stern Westerly off the Mediterranean Sea, there are one or two factors in this, that even those of us from as far away as the other side of the world, can clearly make out.

Firstly, the Orica GreenEdge bus driver was clearly very upset up by the entire situation and in no way was he having an enjoyable first day on the job.

Secondly, ASO and Orica GreenEdge are going to engage in the blame game and neither will ever admit fault.

Thirdly, and I think this is the most interesting is OPQS team manager Patrick Lefevere saying the following, as reported by Cycling News,

“In an ideal world we would’ve won which would take away the pressure”, he said.

Yes, the frustration in Lefevere’s comments is palpable.

Quite rightly too.

Cavendish, also expressed similar frustrations, but to suggest that the stage was his, is a little harder to accept.

On the first day’s stage there was one constant and that was all of the riders were riding in the same conditions.

The entire peloton suffered from the miscommunication in regards to the finish line.

Once out on the road, in a stage race, it is an even playing field.

This attitude that all Cav needs to do is turn up and the win is not new.

In fact, this scenario is not that dissimilar to last year’s Tour where Cav once again crashed out on the hectic approach to the finish.

Sure, he may have won if his then Sky team had formed a train to lead him in. Or he may have won if he had of been in a different position, but like the first stage of this year’s Tour, he suffered bad luck and as a result was out of contention for the victory.

There is no doubt that ASO will do all it can to ensure that nothing like this happens again and the frustration felt by riders was reasonable, but to suggest that you have a stage all sewn up just by being on the starting line is not just ridiculous but offensive to your fellow competitors.

Yes, Mark Cavendish is probably the fastest man on a flat out dash for the finish line and yes, he would have highly fancied himself for the stage and the maillot jaune, but anything can happen in a race and nothing in cycling is ever a certainty.

We can all feel the disappointment of the sprinters who lost a rare opportunity to wear the yellow jersey, but to have expected to end the day in yellow is a different thing all together.

Anything can happen in a stage, from a puncture, to a dog or a foolish fan out on the course, to an unfortunate series of crashes.

As chaotic as the end to Stage One was, one thing is for sure, all of the riders were in the same position on what was a level playing field amongst the carnage.





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