It seems Etixx-Quick Step will have a mixed feeling about today’s stage. Zdenek Stybar took the stage win with a last assault after the final climb of the day. He finished 2 seconds ahead of the charging pack of climbing and sprinting specialists. However, what would be concerning the Belgian team is Tony Martin who leads the Tour crashed 800m in and seemed to be in a lot of pain clutching his collarbone. On a slightly more positive note, crashing in the final 3kms results in that rider being given the same time as the winner. Martin if he starts tomorrow, will be in Yellow.
Compared to previous stages, there was not much action. This was good for riders who are nursing knocks from previous stages as it gives them some time for recovery. The winds were not much of a threat to the Peloton. Luis Angel Maté of Cofidis made the first attack of the day before Perrig Quémeneur of Europcar, Daniel Teklehaimanot of MTH-Qhubeka and Kenneth van Bilsen of Lotto-Soudal led the 3 man breakaway for more than 175kms of today’s race.
For Daniel Teklehaimanot, this was a dream stage. He took each and every one of the 3 categorized climbs (each worth 1 point owing to their category 4 classification) to pick up 3 Mountain Climbing Points. He is now the wearer of the Polka-Dot, King of the Moutains Jersey, a classification he has wanted to win since his childhood. Dream come true for this South African who is the first black rider to hold the jersey.
With 10kms to go, Tklehaimanot and Quémeneur were picked up by the Peleton. Their objectives were complete. Kenneth van Bilsen tried to fight the fast moving main group but eventually was overtaken by Peloton. As the teams scrambled to get their men up, Tony Martin hit the wheel of a Europcar rider. He fell down hard and took down Chris Froome, Tejay van Garderen and Vincenzo Nibali 800ms to go, as the sprinters like Sagan and Degenklob could not answer Stybar’s final dash.
While the latter 3 riders in the Tony Martin Crash were quickly on their bikes suffering minor scratches, Martin was down clutching his collar bones. 4 of his teammates stayed to help him cross the line, but his participation in the tour might be in doubt.
Martin if he starts tomorrow will continue in Yellow. Let us hope its not the end to the German’s role in tour.
Andre Griepel will now be worried with Sagan’s strong finish. The Green Jersey holder was nowhere in the final sprint of the day. Sagan, who took second today is now just 3 points off Griepel.
The Top 20 in the General Classification