Blood, guts and barbed wire at the Tour de France

There’s never been a Tour quite like it. So many crashes, so many GC contenders left discarded at the roadside. Perhaps the biggest loser of all was our own Bradley Wiggins. He was definitely in the form of his life. Would it have given him a place on the podium? Now we’ll never know.

On Monday as I write this, the Sky leader is having surgery to bolt his collarbone back together. He’s making a good job of hiding his disappointment and is busy revising his end-of-season schedule, with the Vuelta and World TT Champs now on the agenda.

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If it’s any consolation, it’s good to know Bradley isn’t alone when it comes to bad luck as it’s now easier to list the favourites who haven’t crashed than those who have. Incredibly, the usually unstable Schleck brothers have both managed to stay upright aong with the normally luckless Cadel Evans.

By contrast, things couldn’t have gone more badly wrong for Radioshack, who may have started with four team leaders but are now just down to Andreas Kloden, who soldiers on with an injured back. Levi Leipheimer is also in the race, but after three major crashes and the odd puncture he now languishes minutes in arrears.

Normally you would think that would qualify him for the unluckiest rider in the race award, but this goes to former KoM leader Johnny Hoogerland who needed 33 stitches after he plunged into a barbed wire fence.

All this and the race is just over half-way. It’s going to be touch and go that they don’t run out of bandages before Paris.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly