Triumphs and Tribulations Mount in Tour de France
Participants likened the crashes on Friday to a warzone, where riders splayed over a rural road following a significant crash.
In the champagne region of France, fans dotted the roadway to cheer on riders. Within 16 miles of the finish a pack of four broke away from the rest. In an effort to overtake the breakaway riders, nearly two dozen participants succumbed to the brutal crash in name.
The squad hit heaviest by the incident was the Garmin squad. Last tour’s 8th place finisher Tom Danielson found himself with a separated shoulder after being knocked unconscious. Danielson was rushed to the hospital to treat collarbone, elbow and hip injuries. He and at least three others have since dropped out of the race due to the severity of their injuries.
Riders were said to have been traveling at least 43mph/69.2kmh when the crash occurred, spilling dozens across the road. While this event was not the only crash during the sixth stage, it was certainly the most significant. Two other incidents managed to pull riders from the race as well.
Slovakian rider Peter Sagan was in fine form however, managing to evade disaster and finish his third stage win with a sprint finish.
Overall classification leader, Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, also managed to remain unscathed and retain his golden jersey only to lose it in later stages to the British Bradley Wiggins.
The Tour is now in a rest period and will continue with its 10th stage of 20 on Tuesday. This will be the first of the mountain stages, beginning in Mâcon and finishing in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, a nearly 200km journey.