First week of Le Tour and it’s the usual up-down-left-right chaos. Nerves a-jangling for the GC favourites – take it as read there were incidents and accidents on every stage. Fast muscles a-twitching for the sprinters, and boy did they have a LOT of opportunities. And at the end of it all an appointment with the hallowed Roubaix pavé for the Tour’s very own A Sunday in Hell.
It was Stage 4 of the 2018 Tour de France and Fernando Gaviria took full advantage of a perfect delivery by his slick Quick-Step train to take victory number two in a three-way sprint-royale for the line. The Colombian hotshot had to give an extra kick to keep ahead of a flying Andre Greipel. Peter Sagan just squeezed past the German to nab second place and more points for the green jersey. Greg Van Avermaet stays in yellow, but a crash with 5km to go left Rigoberto Uran scrambling back to the peloton for a second team time trail in two days. Ilnur Zakarin wasn’t so lucky, losing nearly a minute as he was left to ride in alone while Katusha-Alpecin were working for Marcel Kittel.
Stage 1 of the 2018 Tour de France was as expected – a break goes, rides most of the day out front, the sprint teams organise the catch, then ride full bore to the finish. Except it wasn’t like that as it seemed like Lady Luck was picking on some of the GC guys, with crashes and barrier flips a go-go in the final 10km. But the sprinters went hell for leather, with Philippe Gilbert and Bob Jungels unleashing a mighty Fernando Gaviria in the last 300m, who left Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel in his dust, taking the maillot jaune in his debut Tour de France. Continue reading