Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't step in front of the peloton

This year's Tour de France is underway, and already there's been a lot of game-changing events.  First off, on the opening day, Alberto Contador (who has won the Tour de France on three separate occasions: 2007, 2009, and 2010) was booed when he was introduced during the opening ceremonies.  Just watch the first ten seconds or so of this video to see it:

Alberto, by the way, was on Lance Armstrong's team in 2009.  That year, there was some sort of rivalry between the two, and in the end, Alberto went rogue (depending on how you look at it and who you talk to!) and left his teammate to fend for himself.  It worked out well for Contador, since he won the Tour de France that  year.

Back to this year.  The reigning champion is always expected to be a top contender to win again.  This year it was expected to come down to Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador.  This was prediction because last year, Alberto Contador only beat Andy Schleck by thirty-nine seconds.

Stage one starts, and everything is going well with the peloton (the main group of cyclists)...until this happened:

The most significant thing to note from this crash was that Alberto Contador was behind this crash, so he was stuck in the second group.  Andy Schleck, however, was in the front group and was now working to put as much of a gap as he could between himself and Contador.

The craziest part is that later in the race, there was yet another crash!  It was right around the 4km to go mark.  By the end of Stage 1, Andy Schleck was ahead of Contador by one minute and fourteen seconds.  That's already almost double the time difference from last year's race!

Then Stage 2 took place, which was the team time-trial, and Contador lost even more time!  After Stage 2, Contador was one minute and thirty-eight seconds back from Schleck, and that's also the time gap after the third stage.

This isn't the first time that a spectator has been involved in a crash during the Tour de France.  Here's a few videos for your viewing pleasure:

With how crazy the fans are during the Tour de France, I'm surprised that this doesn't happen more often!  You gotta wonder too, was it really an accident or was that spectator a plant from one of the other teams?  Pretty far fetched, but you never know!

If you happen to find yourself spectating an endurance event, whether it be a marathon, Ironman, or the Tour de France, it's probably a good idea if you don't actually spectate close enough to touch the participants.

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