SAN DIEGO, July 6, 2014 – The big guns of the 2014 Tour de France came out to play on Stage 2, the second day in England, and it was an Italian champion riding for a team from Kazahkstan in England in a French cycling race who took the stage win Sunday.
Vincenzo Nibali, previous winner of the Giro d’Italia, caught the top contender by springing his surprise at the perfect moment when he launched an attack one mile from the finish to cross first for Team Astana.
It was a long, difficult stage with numerous short climbs that took their toll on the riders. Only the top riders could stay in position and not lose precious time in their quest to stand on the podium in Paris.
“The whole stage was crazy, with the fans and the all the technical turns, the stage was brutal” said American cycling Tejay van Garderen riding for BMC. Van Garderen was among the top finishers along with Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Andrew Talansky,
Fellow American rider Andrew Talansky kept himself in top contention staying with the leaders. “It was really hard it’s no secret. Any one day like today are not my speciality. My specialty is 20, 30, 40 minute climbs. I got through it, I feel good… I don’t think we’ve really seen anything yet. Everyone looks good.”
Sentimental favorite Mark Cavendish of Omega-Pharma withdrew from this year’s Tour before the stage started after seperating his shoulder in a crash on Stage 1. Cavendish took himself out leaning his shoulder into Australian cyclist Simon Gerrans of Orica-Greenedge in an attempt to clear room for a run to the finish. Instead, both hit the pavement.
Late on Monday, Cavendish posted an apology on Twitter and on his team’s website: “I’m gutted about the crash today. It was my fault. I’ll personally apologise to Simon Gerrans as soon as I get the chance. In reality, I tried to find a gap that wasn’t really there. I wanted to win today, I felt really strong and in a great position to contest the sprint thanks to the unbelievable efforts of my team. Sorry to all the fans that came out to support — it was truly incredible.”
Cavendish showed up at the beginning of the stage with his arm in a sling. He spoke to news media and gave his team a pep talk on the team bus before the start of the stage.
For a second straight day, the British public embraced the Tour in their country, lining the roads and camping out for days on the short climbs. They cheered as if they were watching the epic climbs up Alpe d’Huez. British fans aren’t quite as used to this as French fans. Many encroached a little too much upon the cyclists at times; veteran rider Jens Voight admitted it was “a little hairy,” saying he bumped his shoulders and elbows against spectators several times. Rider Ramūnas Navardauskas of Garmin-Sharp got so angry with one fan when he got in the way taking a photo, he grabbed the cellphone out of his hands and threw it away.
Stage 3 is the final stage in England. It runs from Cambridge into the heart of London. It is a shorter stage, 71 miles long. It will pass through many of the capital’s landmarks before ending in a sprint opposite Buckingham Palace. It is a shame that Mark Cavandish won’t be participating, but the rest of the sprinters should put on their own changing of the guard. See the route map here.
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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