Jakob Fuglsang stood ruptures to his wrist and shoulder on stagecoach 11 of the Tour de France before Marcel Kittel claimed his fifth theatre acquire of the 2017 race
While it was business as usual for Marcel Kittel, who took his fifth stagecoach win of the Tour, this was a bitter daylight for Jakob Fuglsang, the Dane who lies fifth overall behind the president Chris Froome. The winner of the Critrium du Dauphin disintegrated at the feed depot and was left with minor fractures to his left wrist and shoulder. He will start Thursdays stage in the Pyrenees but his future in the race could well be compromised.
On Mondays rest day, the 32 -year-old had described how he hoped that together he and his team-mate Fabio Aru, who is second overall, might use their collective fortitude to introduce Froome on the ropes. On Wednesday evening, a statement issued from the Astana team spoke Fuglsang had preserved small fractures to his left scaphoid, which is located where the wrist and hand gratify, and the chief of the radius of his left elbow. Another Astana member, Dario Cataldo, ceased the race after the same clang having also broken his left scaphoid.
A doctor of many years ordeal in professional cycling read Fuglsang would be unlikely to get much further in the race. An elbow injury of this type, he replied, is usually treated in a sling and gently mobilised. Medical doctors contributed: There is a risk of complication if a scaphoid injury is not plowed correctly.
There have been an eerie number of high-profile accident scapegoats at the Tour de France this year, including favourites for the overall standings such as Richie Porte, who went home on Sunday with ruptures to a collarbone and pelvis, and Spains Alejandro Valverde, who broke a kneecap on day one. The former yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas and the superstar sprinter Mark Cavendish have held a busted collarbone and shoulder bladerespectively. Another faller, albeit less seriously, was Alberto Contador, who fell twice on Sunday and was in the wars again on Wednesday.
As for Kittel, after winning half of the 10 road-race theatres in the Tour since the hasten left Dsseldorf on 2 July, the German is rewriting the record books. To find another rider so dominant at this early stage in the hasten, it is necessary to go back to 1909 when five members of the first six stagecoaches were triumphed by the Luxembourgeois Franois Faber, the dominant anatomy of his generation, whose living and profession pointed on the western figurehead in the first world war.
Like Cavendish in his pomp, Kittel is manufacturing history his own direction. What made Cavendish unique was his ability to achieve a high rate of stagecoach wins time in, year out, between 2008 and 2012. Kittels achievement in this Tour is one to compare with other enormous acquiring blotch of the past: Mario Cipollinis four Tour stagecoaches in a row in 1999, or Freddy Maertenss five street theatres in both 1976 and 1981, although in 1976 Maertens contributed three meter tribulations to that.
There ought to have six flat sprint finishes so far, and only one has baffled Kittel. The other fastmen are seeming increasingly resigned, although the young Briton Dan McLay posted his best finish thus far with fifth region. Having produced out the sprint in Bergerac, the Fortuneo-Oscaro rider opted to remain in the shelter this time but he was little nearer to Kittel, manifesting the reality that all the sprinters are scrabbling for whatever crumbs the German plunges their way.
Here, the German Kittel could render the luxury of being able to start his sprint from 10 th situate, on paper method extremely far back. Sprinters at this tier of supremacy be it Cavendish, Cipollini or other appoints from the past such as Jean-Paul van Poppel seem to operate in a different plane of duration and seat, apparently able to select which rotate to slot on to: Michael Matthews was Wednesdays victim. The Australian was following Edvard Boasson Hagen, who led the gallop out, only for Kittel to come sailing past like a clipper modernizing a rowboat, with the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen comes real tight on his left.
As the peloton headed into Pau, the Pyrenees were hidden in mist rather than looming threateningly but the field know what awaits on Thursday, with the first heavy-duty peak finish of the hasten at the Peyragudes ski depot on one of the Tours oldest climbing, the Col de Peyresourde.
On Wednesday, Froome recalled the frustration he appeared at being prevented from prevailing in 2012 because of crew tells but told you he hoped his legs “wouldve been” as good. The stagecoach, he announced, has changed since then, with the addition of a finish on the ski depots altiport runway at a gradient of 20 %.
Its savage, if anyone punches in those few hundred metres there could be big time gaps. There are only two more uphill finishes left in the Tour de France, tomorrow is one so its a key stage.
The other issue is what openings Froomes challengers can find. The steep descents will suit Aru and Daniel Martin, while Romain Bardets pitching skills necessary little opening. For Froomes team, the brief will be obvious: control the race. The key happening for me is to keep an eye on Fabio Aru, hes exclusively 18 seconds behind and I want to keep him there until the time visitation[ in Marseille] so I will stick to him like adhesive, Froome said. Our number one priority is not to allow anyone who has lost occasion already come back into the game.
In expressions of concentrated rise, the final 40 km of the stage on Thursday are among the toughest of this years hasten, with the hors categorie Port de Bals 11.7 km at an average gradient of seven. 7% followed by a 16 km descent to the hoof of the Peyresourde, just under 10 km at a similar gradient. A 2km ancestry followed that before the final, steep 2.4 km ramp to the finish.
Asked what he thought of what is viewed as the queen of the Pyrenean stages, the Ltape Reine , Bardet bridled a bit. We had une Ltape Reine on Sunday, weve got one in the Pyrenees , no doubt one in the Alps. Theres nothing but Ltapes Reine in this Tour. Severely though, its one of those marathons clambering stages that suits me. Ominously, however, it will also suit the race ruler and his team-mates.
In 2012, the first time it was included in the Tour route, this finish experienced Froome demonstrate that he was a stronger climber than his nominal president Bradley Wiggins, who went on to win that Tour. The Peyresourde, meanwhile, is where he assaulted to take the psychological whip hand last year. Traditionally, in all his Tour triumphs, Froome has gained time in the Pyrenees an important sum at uphill finishes in 2013 and 2015, somewhat less downhill into Luchon last year and if he fails to do so at Peyragudes, wonders will begin to be asked.