Team Garmin-Sharp shifts its focus to Dan Martin in the Tour de France after losing its GC leader and Giro d’Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal in a mega-crash. He abandoned the race with 11 others, including Garmin’s Tom Danielson and Robert Hunter.
“You have to come up with new objectives, you can’t just ride along in the peloton with 2000K to Paris,” general manager, Jonathan Vaughters said ahead of the start today. “Dan Martin is going to be the guy we are going to try to set up” in the mountains.
The crash occurred at 25 kilometres to race yesterday. Sprinter Alessandro Petacchi was handing his shoe covers to Lampre-ISD team-mate Davide Viganò at the time. Viganò had one hand on his bars while trying to put the covers in his rear pocket when the peloton slowed suddenly and was unable to brake in time.
“If you are at 70K an hour in the finale of a Tour de France stage you probably shouldn’t be taking shoe covers off and handing them to a team-mate,” Garmin’s David Millar told Cycling Weekly. “Petacchi has the skills to do that, but you’re Alessandro Petacchi, throw them! Don’t give them to a team-mate, you have overshoes coming out your ass. So, it’s a stupid mistake.
“I do think that was their fault. I feel sorry for him because he’s going to feel terrible about it. I’m sure he’s done it dozens of times before, [but] it’s not cool.”
The stage to Metz yesterday was one of the final sprint days ahead of the weekend’s mountain stages and a time trial on Monday.
“I’m guess – because I know Ale pretty well, and I like him – he likes those shoes clean. So he keeps those shoe covers on to keep those shoes clean for the sponsor. … He made a mistake, Viganò made a mistake and it caused a massive amount of collateral damage and pain.”
Viganò, with a collarbone fracture, is one of the 12 cyclists who abandoned before the start of stage seven. Millar had chain-ring cuts on his left forearm. He is also bruised on his left side.
Hesjedal and Danielson travel to Paris today to fly home to their European base in Girona, Spain. Hesjedal suffered a “massive haematoma to his left leg and hip, the team said in a press release this morning.
“We hoped the swelling would go down overnight, but it didn’t,” Vaughters said at the team bus. “It’s right on his hip joint, sort of on the front, and the swelling is to the degree that he can’t bend his leg. You need to be able to bend your leg to race your bike!”
“Ryder’s won the Giro, let him have a break,” Millar added. “Let’s just give him some distance and time to appreciate what he did at the Giro. I don’t think he had that opportunity yet because he was so focused going for a double.”
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