Welcome to the Feed Zone. Grab a musette and sit down for a nourishing snack of Tour de France news, views, gossip and reaction from our team out on the road.
BARREDO AND COSTA: THE AFTERMATH
It’s been a good few years since a proper fight between professional cyclists was caught on camera.
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That all changed yesterday, when Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) and Rui Costa (Caisse d’Epargne) came to blows in a rather unsubtle spot in Gueugnon.
Despite being a former Clasica San Sebastian winner, Barredo will be remembered as much for being the man who used a front wheel as a weapon – giving a whole new meaning to the term “perennial attacker”.
The 400 CHF fine given to both was a relative slap on the wrist, considering the bad image it casts on the Tour.
As for the afters? The two shook hands on the startline this morning and will be keen to make themselves known for something other than brawling in the forthcoming two weeks.
IN THE WARS
Costa and Barredo aren’t the only ones beaten up either.
The crashes on stage two and stage three have left several riders sore.
With some bad facial cuts and swelling, Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) looks less and less like he’s been twelve rounds with Mike Tyson with every passing day.
Kevin Seeldraeyers and Jeremy Roy are also both noticeably bandage-swathed.
“I normally crash twice a year – this season, I’ve already had six,” an unimpressed Seeldraeyers told us.
A GREAT BRITISH FIRST WEEK
It has been a fine seven days for British riders. For almost every day, there’s been a home rider making the race.
A poor start ceded to two stage wins for Cavendish, there’s been the white jersey and second overall for Geraint Thomas, acclaimed as the “revelation of the first week” by L’Equipe.
On the same day that Thomas was second in Arenberg, teammate Steve Cummings was up the road in the day’s breakaway. Dan Lloyd and Jeremy Hunt have been prominent in the peloton doing the dirty work for Hushovd and Sastre, and David Millar was in the top three overall before being caught behind a crash on the cobblestones of northern France.
The mountains may not have started yet, but if there was a nations classification – recognising the top three of each country – Great Britain would have been out in front.
The only men who have been quiet are Charly Wegelius and Bradley Wiggins. Somehow we think Wiggo will be a lot more conspicuous in the coming two weeks…
MEET THE MOLDOVAN
Alexandr Pliuschin got a bit of attention last weekend when he got in the stage one break and several TV commentators failed to correctly identify his national champion’s jersey.
“Some people thought I was from Macedonia or Romania,” the Katusha rider recalled when we grabbed a word with him outside his team bus this morning. “But I’m from Moldova and I’m very proud to wear my national champion’s jersey here in the Tour de France.”
Aged 23, Pliuschin is in his third year as a professional.
“The first two years I had problems with my health so I feel like I’m just starting now,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve been in the Tour de France.”
What does he expect to do with the rest of his race?
“Today it’s quite a stage for the main guys in our team, but later in the race I’d like to get in more breaks,” he replied. “Flat days or hilly days, I don’t mind. I’m still young, I haven’t found myself yet.”
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