Yesterday we all sat back in shock at the news of Chris Froome’s exit from the Tour de France, with myriad of different theories and questions flying around in confusion. After seeing and reading more in the 24 hours that have passed however, it seems as though there was no other option.
Bleacher reported on the Brit’s crash by saying:
‘Froome started Wednesday’s stage in seventh position, just two seconds behind Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, the race’s leader.
Unfortunately for Froome, the injury impacted his performance and he simply couldn’t go any further in the wake of the second hard crash in as many days.’
Leading in as British Team Sky’s only chance of glory, it is indeed a massive blow to the British public and a huge game-changer for all the other riders, as the race is now wide open. Froome didn’t even make it to the dreaded cobbles of stage 5, and it’s just as well, the bumpy ride could’ve caused his wrist injury to become permanently damaged.
So how did the rest of the stage pan out?
This stage, running from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, was always going to be a rough one. Incorporating the cobbles from the dreaded Paris – Roubaix route, aptly named the ‘Hell of the North.’
The hell started long before the cobbles however, as crashes and smashes were in full effect, including a slippy skid from Frenchman Sébastien Minard and the same from Kittel as he whipped round a corner. Other larger peloton crashes took place, such as one involving American Tejay van Garderen. After a lot of downed bikes and ripped jerseys, Chris Froome topped it off with his final plummet.
After the hellish nature of the many cobbles and wet, flooded dirt tracks – as they may as well now be referred to – a battered peloton cycled on towards a gritty end to the stage.
Belkin rider Lars Boom made a courageous break and was all set to claim a win from this horrible, horrible stage, leaving GC leader Nibali and Dane Jakub Fugslang amongst the cobbles. As a former cyclo-cross champion, he may have an advantage, but no matter what your background, you’d have to be a strong cyclist to finish this stage in one piece, let alone win.
Covered from head to toe in brown mud, the Dutchman crossed the finish line as number one, celebrating and feeling superhuman.
The stage results were:
1. Lars Boom (Netherlands/Belkin) 3hr 18min 35sec
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +19sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana)
4. Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Cannondale) +1min 01sec
5. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland/Trek)
6. Jens Keukeleire (Belgium/Orica)
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland/OPQS) +1min 07sec
8. Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands/Astana) +1min 09sec
9. Matteo Trentin (Italy/ OPQS) +1min 21sec
10. Cyril Lemoine (France/Cofidis) +1min 45sec
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