Calais to Le Portel. 166km
Today’s stage is all about the Northern coast of France. The starts from the port of Calais, which has a lot of history with England. Any proper English person knows about Calais. They often take the train under the English Channel. In French it is called the “Manche” (sleeve). The winds are usually high and there is a climb at what is called “Cap Blanc Nez” or the white nose that is about 25 kilometers from England. On a clear day one can see the Coast of England.
It was a crazy day to say the least…
After the start of the race, a Bahrain Merida rider fell and bumped his pretty good. We got him back on the road, but when I started asking him questions about the crash and other basic neurologic questions, he was not very precise with his answers, and it was hard given that he was Spanish and spoke little English or French. After speaking with his team director, Phillip Mauduit, he even said that the rider did not want to quit but did not remember the accident. With things we are learning about concussions these days, it was decided that he should stop the race. Given the crashes that were to come, it was definitely a good move.
Lots of accidents today
After the 50 km mark, 4 riders crashed on a descent going about 40 mph. Two of the riders obviously had pretty bad trauma and had to be taken to the hospital. Turns out that he had a broken collarbone and possible broken elbow. Pretty painful stuff.
As far as the race goes, a break of 2 went off and gained about 10 minutes. The One of them, Feng of Bahrain was one of my old riders on Champion Systems. This guy is very strong and knows no pain. Finally, about 30 riders made the front group finally. Among those were Sylvain Chavenal and Henrich Haussler. Chavanel this time took matters into his own hands and broke away, winning by about 10 seconds. The sustained power it took to hold off the small group was quite impressive and we will see if Chavanel can hold the lead going into tomorrows stage, Cassel. There is a lot of climbing and cobbles to navigate.