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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Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour 2012: Who will win?
Tour de France 2012 provisional start list
Tour de France 2012 team list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials
CW's Tour de France podcasts
Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs
Comment: Cavendish the climber
Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Andy Jones
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones
Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2012: Team presentation
Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce
Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
Stage five live coverage
Stage four live coverage
Stage three live coverage
Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2012: TV schedule
ITV4 live schedule
British Eurosport live schedule
Tour de France 2012: Related links
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Brief history of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever
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By Jonny Long •