Slipstream-Chipotle leader David Millar was neither bloodied nor bowed after a crash on the stage one run-in to Nevers left him on the tarmac with less than four kilometres to ride.
Manager Jonathan Vaughters was satisfied with his team's performance during the wind-devastated stage one to Nevers. Although when Quick Step split the race, no Argyle-clad riders initially made it to the front group, David Millar and Trent Lowe bridged up after a 30-kilometre chase.
However, Millar?s efforts were almost wasted when he crashed at the worst possible moment. With four kilometres to go, he came to grief on a sharp right-hander at the bottom of a greasy descent. He bounced up and chased hard to catch his rivals just as they hit the final kilometre.
According to Vaughters, the British champion was unhurt in the crash.
?He?s fine. The bad news is that he crashed. The good news is that the road was so slippery that he just slid along. He didn?t even lose any skin,? said Vaughters.
Slipstream now have two riders in contention for the general classification ? Millar and Australian climber Trent Lowe. Vaughters admitted that he would have liked more riders at the front, but he knew that it would be difficult once Quick Step made their move.
?That left turn [at Baugy] ? wow. It went so hard and fast. We knew it was coming, but it?s one thing for the directeur sportif to say to everyone to get to the front, quite another for everybody to fight their way up there,? he said.
?I would have liked Christian Vande Velde to make it up there as well, but Dave and Trent are now our two best hopes. They are the two best climbers on the team ? Trent has a good shot, and Dave needs to do the Miguel Indurain thing on the Ventoux. He has to stay on a steady pace, and not try and follow the attacks.?
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Edward Pickering is a writer and journalist, editor of Pro Cycling and previous deputy editor of Cycle Sport. As well as contributing to Cycling Weekly, he has also written for the likes of the New York Times. His book, The Race Against Time, saw him shortlisted for Best New Writer at the British Sports Book Awards. A self-confessed 'fair weather cyclist', Pickering also enjoys running.
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