Major crash has knock-on as I get green light to attack
TOUR DIARY:Everybody in the bunch was saying it is the worst crash they have ever seen as about 70 or 80 guys hit the floor, writes DANIEL MARTIN
WELL, THAT was a really crazy day. I had probably one of the scariest moments of my life with the massive crash that took place near the end of the stage. It was huge, loads of riders went down, and it really changed the race for us and for other teams.
It is starting to sound like a broken record here, but it is the same old story – an early break goes and then there are all these crashes. There was that big crash, but that wasn’t the only one . . . there was even one in the neutralised section which completely blocked the road.
Those early crashes are caused by road furniture – traffic islands, roundabouts and all that – and perhaps also inattentiveness, but also by the roads being really narrow and having some roadworks. At the King of the Mountains climb there was also a crash, and I was kind of involved. I didn’t hit the floor, but a guy ran into me from behind and my back is a bit sore. But it is hard to complain when you see what happened in the end there; it was complete carnage, and pretty terrifying.
It was mainly tailwind from 50 kilometres to go, and so we were really going fast. The wind turned and became a bit of a crosswind, which was really hard to race in and also made everyone super nervous. It then turned to tailwind again and after being all lined out, the peloton grouped together and everybody was fighting for the front once more.
We were on this pretty wide road, just dead straight and slightly downhill, riding along at about 70 kilometres per hour with that wind pushing us along. I don’t really know what happened, but I just heard something and hit the brakes straight away.
Myself and my Garmin-Sharp team-mate Robert Hunter just about came to a halt. I took to the grass to avoid the first guys who had fallen, and managed to come to a halt literally a metre before the guys on the floor. I have never seen anything like it – there were bodies everywhere.
We actually have no idea what caused it. Obviously somebody knows, and I am sure they feel like the worst person in the world at the moment. There must have been 70 or 80 guys who hit the floor. Everybody in the bunch was saying it is the worst crash they have ever seen. I think the sound of the crunching carbon and metal breaking will stay with me for quite a while.
We lost Tom Danielson right away. He’d already crashed this week and was pretty bad before the stage started, having shoulder problems. He went down again and we could see that he was pretty banged up and out of the race. Our focus was on our general classification contender Ryder Hesjedal and that is why I waited. I lost some time again but I had to stop – friendships and my team-mates come first, and are more important than a race. I had to stop and see if they were okay and pick them up and help out.