Harry Tanfield's day in the leader's jersey at the Tour de Yorkshire was eventful for a lot of the wrong reasons after he and team-mate Alex Paton found themselves riding on open roads.
"[It was] pretty grim, I spent the first 80 kilometres out of the race. I punctured and the race just went full gas," Tanfield said. "I went harder today than yesterday, thank god it shut down and chilled and I managed to get back on eventually."
Tanfield's early puncture turned out to be the least of his worries, as the peloton pressed on ahead. Cycling Weekly understands the roads were opened up despite Tanfield and Paton being ahead of the broom wagon.
"We were out the back of the race for 30 kilometres with oncoming traffic, my team-mate Alex Paton hit a car head on. He was in hospital and hopefully he was alright, it was fully open roads and we were a minute and a half out the back and didn’t really know what to do, if we should keep riding or not, because we were fully out the race.
Canyon-Eisberg team manager Tim Elverson lodged a complaint about the traffic on course and later received an apology from race organiser ASO. ASO was not available for comment.
It was later confirmed that Paton escaped any major injuries. Tanfield was lucky to avoid any injuries after the initial huge tyre blowout.
"I had a shocker and went down a hole and blew my tyre out," he said. "I’m on tubeless, but when it blew it just came straight off the rim so you're riding a carbon rim on tarmac. Clincher, tub, solid foam wheels, it doesn’t matter what you were on I would have smashed it. I’m surprised I didn’t fall off it was a crater."
The mechanical also meant the Canyon-Eisberg rider couldn't enjoy his last moments in the blue jersey as he ground his way up the Cow and Calf to the finish line.
"I was pretty gutted I lost my 32 [sprocket] to be honest, I had to use my 30 to grind up there, which was quite unpleasant. The funny thing was when me and Max did the recce last week we went up a lot faster, and it was relatively chilled but Pool Bank was quite hard, I was going hard but didn’t have any gas for it."
Despite being at times a frustrating day, Tanfield was reflective on an experience he wouldn't have expected to come his way before the race.
"It was good fun, it's a nice day out and it's great while it lasts. I've still got the green jersey as well which is good."
Break sent off course
Tanfield and Paton weren't the only riders to find themselves off the closed roads of the route. The breakaway of Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi-Murias), Tom Baylis (One Pro Cycling) and Tobyn Horton (Madison-Genesis) turned off the course twice, which served to demolish most of its gap to the peloton and any hopes its members might have had of contesting the stage.
There were also other crashes on the day that involved several British riders. Chris Lawless (Sky) was among those that crashed on one tight corner and had subsequently had to have stitches in his knee. He did not start on Saturday morning. Madison-Genesis rider George Pym suffered suspected broken fingers in a crash, though he started today.
In the women's race Olympic Champion and Cycling Weekly columnist Katie Archibald suffered a fracture to her clavicle that may require surgery.
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Paul Knott is a fitness and features writer, who has also presented Cycling Weekly videos as well as contributing to the print magazine as well as online articles. In 2020 he published his first book, The Official Tour de France Road Cycling Training Guide (Welbeck), a guide designed to help readers improve their cycling performance via cherrypicking from the strategies adopted by the pros.
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