Well it wasn’t the coastal winds that caused chaos on the first mass finish of this years Tour de France but some of the bends towards the finish of the race.

First having just entered the last 3km when anybody involved in a crash has their time protected with the group they are with sprint king Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), fellow Brit Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and were amongst those that went down.

Later just inside the flame rouge marking the final kilometre there was a second crash which literally blocked the road behind a lead group of about 25-30. This took out Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) amongst others.

So it was left to Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) who also benefitted when Cav crashed in the Tour of Switzerland to take the line, Cav’s normal lead out man Mark Renshaw took second, which makes you wonder what would have happened in the Manx engine was there. Last year’s Green Jersey winner Thor Hushovd (Cervélo) took third place. With Robbie McEwen (Katusha) and Mathieu Ladagnous (Française des Jeux) the first French men making up the top five.

There had been an earlier all day break away of three who had been captured with 8km to go before the real drama of the day took over. The fact was that all the sprinters’ teams were vying for position in the lead up to the finish. All in all a thrilling end to what might otherwise have been a normal bunch finish. Just have to hope that nobody else is going to have to retire as a result, Swiss rider Mathias Frank (BMC) didn’t not line up at the start this morning having broken his wrist in a crash in the 8.9km time trial prologue yesterday.

Update: Just heard that Adam Hansen has suffered a broken collar bone and will be out of the HTC-Columbia train.

Tomorrow we have the first hilly stage of the race. In total there are three each category 3 and 4 climbs so someone in a breakaway coud pull on the first King of the Mountains jersey when they arrive in Spa. See below.

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