The first week of racing at the Tour de France has left the peloton battered and bandaged. It has left some people wondering if the course has been too dangerous. I don’t remember where but I did read one article that said it was just bike racing and it hasn’t been that bad. Chris Carmichael and Greg Lemond have both written that it was a rough week.
Lance Armstrong has had particularly bad luck in this year’s Tour. He lost nearly 12 minutes after crashes in Sunday’s stage. Honestly though I’m more surprised that he won 7 consecutive Tours without any bad crashes or getting sick. With 3 weeks of racing for each one, that’s nearly half a year without an illness at the wrong time. It did seem he had stomach ailments one year and sat in on some flat stages.
In Carmichael’s article, he talks about some of the reasons why there may be more crashes now and why there are more broken bones. One the reasons he talks about is more “traffic furniture”. He says, “the small towns and cities throughout Europe have been steadily placing roundabouts, speed bumps, chicanes, and narrowed sections of road in place in order to slow down traffic.” Not only do they increase the chance of a crash but can make for a harder landing.
Hopefully now that Lance is out of GC contention, he’ll go for some stage wins and make for some interesting racing. He has also said he’ll ride for Levi Leipheimer. There’s still plenty of exciting racing left no matter what Lance does.