SAN DIEGO, July 10, 2014 – The first week of the 2014 Tour de France has proven to be a tough one. Nine riders are out, four of them after today’s stage including the second rider from Team Sky to leave after champion Chris Froome.
Powering past the problems of the peloton today was German rider Andre Griepel of Lotto Belisol. Griepel caught Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha who tried to catch the other sprinters by surprise with a long run down to the finish, but he couldn’t hold off Griepel. It’s been a good sporting week for Germany with its World Cup victory and with two German riders, Griepel and Marcel Kittel, winning four of the six stages so far in the Tour
After his win, Griepel said side winds in the last portion of the stage made it tough, but he still had enough gas left in the tank to keep up with Kristoff. “It was pretty early but I thought whatever happens is fine as long as I give everything. I felt a lot of pressure after the first few stages but finally we have a victory. It’s a good answer from Lotto-Belisol to the critics. My confidence was always there. We stayed calm and did a really good work. My team-mates and myself, we deserve this win.”
Sprinter Peter Sagan remains in fifth place, and didn’t contend today’s stage after crashing, one of many riders to end up with scrapes after hitting the pavement. “That was bad to crash again today but I have nothing broken, so I’m fine. A guy crashed in front of me and another crashed behind, he’s the one who took me down. But after two crashes I’m still here while other riders have had to go home. I just hope that my bad luck is gone. Today I’ve been boxed in and I came fifth without even sprinting, so it’s all good for the green jersey. Maybe tomorrow is my chance for a stage win finally, but firstly I have to recover from my crash.”
The remaining GC contenders were simply glad to stay upright and safe. There was no significant change today in the overall standings.
No change in the special jerseys: Yellow stays with Tour leader Vicenzo Nibali, who must be thinking about his chances to keep it all the way into Paris. Peter Sagan retains the green sprinter’s jersey as well as the best young rider’s white jersey. Cyril Lemoine of Cofidis keeps the polka dot jersey.
Stage 7 is another long flat stage from Epernay to Nancy, one of those days where cyclists must eat up a lot of miles while conserving what energy they can on their way to the rest day and the tough mountain stages beyond. Like today’s stage it will fall to the breakaway bandits to see if they can hold off the sprinters for a race to the finish line. The last two times the Tour started in Epernay, Mark Cavandish won in 2010 and Peter Sagan won in 2012. Look for Sagan again and the potential of a special Sagan salute at the finish.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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