The Tour de France, it’s often said, can be won in the mountains but lost of the flat – a race-ending truism that became painfully evident to Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins yesterday (July 8). With around 40km left of the 218km Stage 7 (Le Mans to Châteauroux) a spectacular peloton pile-up decimated the pack and left the Sky Rider, who had been widely tipped for a final podium place this year, with a fractured collarbone. Somewhat ironically, given the recent days of twists, turns and rainfall (not to mention an almost unprecedented number of collisions) Wiggin’s downfall took place in near perfect conditions on an arrow-straight section.
In brighter news for British riders Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad, who had been unaffected by the earlier crash, went on to claim victory in Chateauroux, a poignant moment for the Manx sprinter as this is where he won his first ever Tour stage win back in 2008. The success brings his total Tour de France stage wins to 17, edging him ever closer to André Darrigade’s record of 22.
Overall standings now see Garmin Thor Hushovd leading on a time of 22hr50’34” with Australia’s Cadel Evans (BMC) a second behind.