The cycling world is baffled by why the fastest Tour de France rider’s chain falls off as he celebrates over the finish line

Mark Cavendish's chain falls off at Tour de France as he wins stage.
Mark “Manx Missile” Cavendish wins stage six of the Tour de France – and drops his chain.

  • Mark Cavendish, the fastest rider at the Tour de France, has won two stages at this year’s race.
  • But when the “Manx Missile” celebrates as he crosses the finish line, his chain sometimes falls off.
  • It’s unclear why, but it appears a violent jerking motion causes the chain to slack and pop off.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mark Cavendish, the fastest rider at the Tour de France, has returned to the great race in style, winning two stages so far, for a career total of 32 Tour stage wins. But something weird happened in stage six on Thursday as he posted up to celebrate across the finish line: His chain fell off.

Here’s a close-up:

The bike chain of Tour de France sprinter Mark Cavendish falls off.
Cav’s dropped chain.

Many expressed surprise and confusion about what was going on. As folks on cycling Twitter speculated, it’s likely several things happening at once.

One, as the fastest sprinter, he’s putting massive power into his pedals and charging to the line extremely quickly (in this sprint, he hit 43.5 mph). So there’s lots of forward momentum.

Second, as he sits up to celebrate, he stops pedaling abruptly and even backpedals a half stoke, which causes a violent jerking motion on his drivetrain.

His rear-wheel free hub spins backward, causing the chain to slack and drop off the chain ring.

(The road surface at the finish appeared to be smooth on Thursday, so it’s unlikely there was a bump that caused the chain drop.)

“There must be some backpedaling happening while there’s reduced tension on the derailleur cage,” experienced US racer and cycling coach Adam Myerson suggested.

And it’s not the first time the Isle of Man rider has lost his chain, as this clip from a race in April shows:

It doesn’t appear to be a safety concern since Cav is sitting up to celebrate and doesn’t need to keep going. But it’s still kind of weird to see him drop his chain. After all, the Tour bikes cost more than $10,000, and you’d expect all the equipment to work flawlessly.

Meanwhile, Cav is closing on Eddy’s Merckx’s record of 34 Tour stage wins.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Riders under pressure navigate dodgy roads and careless spectators at crash-marred Tour de France

Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan crash during the 108th Tour de France 2021, stage 3.
Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan crashed in Monday’s sprint finish at the Tour de France.

  • Dramatic crashes at the Tour de France this week are making headlines.
  • Riders are crashing because of pressure, routes, and a careless spectator, a US team boss told us.
  • Such crashes are unfortunately fairly normal for the Tour, he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

We’re three days into the Tour de France, but it feels like three weeks.

We’ve seen serious high-speed crashes bring down dozens of riders. In one incident that went viral, a spectator caused a massive pile-up when she stuck her cardboard sign into the peloton. In other crashes, we’ve seen riders “touch wheels” and go flying to the ground.

Amid all the crashing and carnage, we’ve seen large groups of riders vying for position along narrow roads featuring numerous roundabouts and “road furniture” like speed bumps.

After Monday’s stage, which saw several crashes – most notably those involving overall favorites Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and sprinters Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) – some riders complained about what they described as a dangerous route.

There’s speculation there might be a rider protest on Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon, I asked the Tour organizer, the Amaury Sport Organisation, about the criticism of its routes being dangerous. A spokesman said the ASO had no comment.

The crashes might seem extraordinary, but as US team boss Jonathan Vaughters, who heads up the EF Education-Nippo squad, told me, they are unfortunately fairly common in the world’s highest-pressure race.

Read more: Defending Tour de France champ is a 22-year-old Slovenian whose freakish physiology and metabolism mean he can recover 3 times as fast as his rivals

Vaughters was a pro cyclist for a decade and raced in the Tour four times before becoming a team manager. He spoke with Insider by phone from France after Monday’s stage three, during which he said he followed the race in the lead team car.

What’s going on with all these crashes in the Tour this year?

This is almost a little more back to normal, actually. The Tour is the most dangerous race of the year.

Last year was an exception in that it was very hilly and with some mountain-top finishes very early on. It kind of separated the race out early, and there weren’t as many of these tense sprint stages where all the GC [general classification] riders are trying to get through with the same time, and all their teams are trying to get the same time, and all their sprinters are trying to sprint. You get this week of racing that sort of hasn’t sorted itself out.

Blood on the leg and shoe of Netherland's Steven Kruijswijk who crashed in the third stage of the Tour de France.
Blood on the leg and shoe of the Netherlands’ Steven Kruijswijk. who crashed on the third stage.

For everyone the dream is still alive. Nobody touches their brakes. This is what normally happens at the Tour. Nobody hits their brakes. Everyone fights for position, unlike they do at any other races. It’s at a much more severe level, and no one ever touches their brakes.

Then you get a parcours [route] like today where it’s incredibly dangerous – a poorly designed parcours with tons of roundabouts, tons of road furniture, tons of planters, concrete bunkers, God knows what. Like a million and a half speed bumps. And it’s a bad combination, a bad mixture. I mean, I hate to say it, but what happened today was not a surprise.

Read more: Watch ‘mom of the year’ save her kid from all these Tour de France riders crashing around them

The other day it was a cardboard sign, and that was horrible, but, you know, most races don’t have as many spectators, most races don’t have as many people trying to get on TV. Most races also don’t have the peloton jamming itself all the way from one side of the road to the other because everyone is fighting for their life – literally – to be at the front.

I don’t think you can blame it on one thing. The fact is the Tour de France is the highest-pressure race in the world. It’s the biggest stage for cycling in the world. And nobody hits the brakes. In other races, they’d be, like, ‘Oh, this is a dangerous situation. I’d better slow down a bit. I won’t fight for that wheel. I’ll touch my brakes. I’ll let this guy in.’ At the Tour de France, nobody lets anybody in; nobody hits their brakes. Today Roglic was all the way to the side of the road trying to move up, and he crashed.

It’s just that everyone takes much bigger risks in this race than they do in any other race. And then you combine that with a dangerous parcours, and it’s just bad news.

Team B&B KTM's Cyril Lemoine of France is helped by medical staff after crashing during the first stage of the 108th edition of the Tour.
Team B&B KTM’s Cyril Lemoine of France after crashing during the first stage.

How is your team, and what do you expect over the next stages?

We’re just trying to keep everyone healthy and safe. For us, the time trial, two days from now, can’t come soon enough. Because once that time trial happens, that’ll calm a few nerves down. There will be a couple people who will lose enough time they’ll lose the dream. It should, after the time trial, calm down, at least a little bit.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘Nobody hits the brakes’: Why nasty crashes at the Tour de France are nothing new

Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan crash during the 108th Tour de France 2021, stage 3.
Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan crashed in Monday’s sprint finish at the Tour de France.

  • Dramatic crashes at the Tour de France this week are making headlines.
  • Riders are crashing because of pressure, routes, and a careless spectator, a US team boss told us.
  • Such crashes are unfortunately fairly normal for the Tour, he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

We’re three days into the Tour de France, but it feels like three weeks.

We’ve seen serious high-speed crashes bring down dozens of riders. In one incident that went viral, a spectator caused a massive pile-up when she stuck her cardboard sign into the peloton. In other crashes, we’ve seen riders “touch wheels” and go flying to the ground.

Amid all the crashing and carnage, we’ve seen large groups of riders vying for position along narrow roads featuring numerous roundabouts and “road furniture” like speed bumps.

After Monday’s stage, which saw several crashes – most notably those involving overall favorites Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and sprinters Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) – some riders complained about what they described as a dangerous route.

There’s speculation there might be a rider protest on Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon, I asked the Tour organizer, the Amaury Sport Organisation, about the criticism of its routes being dangerous. A spokesman said the ASO had no comment.

The crashes might seem extraordinary, but as US team boss Jonathan Vaughters, who heads up the EF Education-Nippo squad, told me, they are unfortunately fairly common in the world’s highest-pressure race.

Read more: Defending Tour de France champ is a 22-year-old Slovenian whose freakish physiology and metabolism mean he can recover 3 times as fast as his rivals

Vaughters was a pro cyclist for a decade and raced in the Tour four times before becoming a team manager. He spoke with Insider by phone from France after Monday’s stage three, during which he said he followed the race in the lead team car.

What’s going on with all these crashes in the Tour this year?

This is almost a little more back to normal, actually. The Tour is the most dangerous race of the year.

Last year was an exception in that it was very hilly and with some mountain-top finishes very early on. It kind of separated the race out early, and there weren’t as many of these tense sprint stages where all the GC [general classification] riders are trying to get through with the same time, and all their teams are trying to get the same time, and all their sprinters are trying to sprint. You get this week of racing that sort of hasn’t sorted itself out.

Blood on the leg and shoe of Netherland's Steven Kruijswijk who crashed in the third stage of the Tour de France.
Blood on the leg and shoe of the Netherlands’ Steven Kruijswijk. who crashed on the third stage.

For everyone the dream is still alive. Nobody touches their brakes. This is what normally happens at the Tour. Nobody hits their brakes. Everyone fights for position, unlike they do at any other races. It’s at a much more severe level, and no one ever touches their brakes.

Then you get a parcours [route] like today where it’s incredibly dangerous – a poorly designed parcours with tons of roundabouts, tons of road furniture, tons of planters, concrete bunkers, God knows what. Like a million and a half speed bumps. And it’s a bad combination, a bad mixture. I mean, I hate to say it, but what happened today was not a surprise.

Read more: Watch ‘mom of the year’ save her kid from all these Tour de France riders crashing around them

The other day it was a cardboard sign, and that was horrible, but, you know, most races don’t have as many spectators, most races don’t have as many people trying to get on TV. Most races also don’t have the peloton jamming itself all the way from one side of the road to the other because everyone is fighting for their life – literally – to be at the front.

I don’t think you can blame it on one thing. The fact is the Tour de France is the highest-pressure race in the world. It’s the biggest stage for cycling in the world. And nobody hits the brakes. In other races, they’d be, like, ‘Oh, this is a dangerous situation. I’d better slow down a bit. I won’t fight for that wheel. I’ll touch my brakes. I’ll let this guy in.’ At the Tour de France, nobody lets anybody in; nobody hits their brakes. Today Roglic was all the way to the side of the road trying to move up, and he crashed.

It’s just that everyone takes much bigger risks in this race than they do in any other race. And then you combine that with a dangerous parcours, and it’s just bad news.

Team B&B KTM's Cyril Lemoine of France is helped by medical staff after crashing during the first stage of the 108th edition of the Tour.
Team B&B KTM’s Cyril Lemoine of France after crashing during the first stage.

How is your team, and what do you expect over the next stages?

We’re just trying to keep everyone healthy and safe. For us, the time trial, two days from now, can’t come soon enough. Because once that time trial happens, that’ll calm a few nerves down. There will be a couple people who will lose enough time they’ll lose the dream. It should, after the time trial, calm down, at least a little bit.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘Nobody hits the brakes’: Brutal Tour de France crashes are unfortunately normal, US team boss says. Dangerous routes, spectators also wreak havoc in highest-pressure race.

Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan crash during the 108th Tour de France 2021, stage 3.
Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan crashed in Monday’s sprint finish at the Tour de France.

  • Dramatic crashes at the Tour de France this week are making headlines.
  • Riders are crashing because of pressure, routes, and a careless spectator, a US team boss told us.
  • Such crashes are unfortunately fairly normal for the Tour, he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

We’re three days into the Tour de France, but it feels like three weeks.

We’ve seen serious high-speed crashes bring down dozens of riders. In one incident that went viral, a spectator caused a massive pile-up when she stuck her cardboard sign into the peloton. In other crashes, we’ve seen riders “touch wheels” and go flying to the ground.

Amid all the crashing and carnage, we’ve seen large groups of riders vying for position along narrow roads featuring numerous roundabouts and “road furniture” like speed bumps.

After Monday’s stage, which saw several crashes – most notably those involving overall favorites Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and sprinters Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) – some riders complained about what they described as a dangerous route.

There’s speculation there might be a rider protest on Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon, I asked the Tour organizer, the Amaury Sport Organisation, about the criticism of its routes being dangerous. A spokesman said the ASO had no comment.

The crashes might seem extraordinary, but as US team boss Jonathan Vaughters, who heads up the EF Education-Nippo squad, told me, they are unfortunately fairly common in the world’s highest-pressure race.

Read more: Defending Tour de France champ is a 22-year-old Slovenian whose freakish physiology and metabolism mean he can recover 3 times as fast as his rivals

Vaughters was a pro cyclist for a decade and raced in the Tour times before becoming a team manager. He spoke with Insider by phone from France after Monday’s stage three, during which he said he followed the race in the lead team car.

What’s going on with all these crashes in the Tour this year?

This is almost a little more back to normal, actually. The Tour is the most dangerous race of the year.

Last year was an exception in that it was very hilly and with some mountain-top finishes very early on. It kind of separated the race out early, and there weren’t as many of these tense sprint stages where all the GC [general classification] riders are trying to get through with the same time, and all their teams are trying to get the same time, and all their sprinters are trying to sprint. You get this week of racing that sort of hasn’t sorted itself out.

Blood on the leg and shoe of Netherland's Steven Kruijswijk who crashed in the third stage of the Tour de France.
Blood on the leg and shoe of the Netherlands’ Steven Kruijswijk. who crashed on the third stage.

For everyone, the dream is still alive. Nobody touches their brakes. This is what normally happens at the Tour. Nobody hits their brakes; everyone fights for position, unlike they do at any other races. It’s at a much more severe level, and no one ever touches their brakes.

Then you get a parcours [route] like today where it’s incredibly dangerous – a poorly designed parcours with tons of roundabouts, tons of road furniture, tons of planters, concrete bunkers, God knows what. Like a million-and-a-half speed bumps. And it’s a bad combination, a bad mixture. I mean, I hate to say it, but what happened today was not a surprise.

Read more: Watch ‘mom of the year’ save her kid from all these Tour de France riders crashing around them

The other day it was a cardboard sign, and that was horrible, but, you know, most races don’t have as many spectators, most races don’t have as many people trying to get on TV. Most races also don’t have the peloton jamming itself all the way from one side of the road to the other because everyone is fighting for their life – literally – to be at the front.

I don’t think you can blame it on one thing. The fact is the Tour de France is the highest-pressure race in the world. It’s the biggest stage for cycling in the world. And nobody hits the brakes. In other races, they’d be, like, ‘Oh, this is a dangerous situation. I’d better slow down a bit. I won’t fight for that wheel. I’ll touch my brakes. I’ll let this guy in.’ At the Tour de France, nobody lets anybody in; nobody hits their brakes. Today Roglic was all the way to the side of the road trying to move up, and he crashed.

It’s just that everyone takes much bigger risks in this race than they do in any other race. And then you combine that with a dangerous parcours, and it’s just bad news.

Team B&B KTM's Cyril Lemoine of France is helped by medical staff after crashing during the first stage of the 108th edition of the Tour.
Team B&B KTM’s Cyril Lemoine of France after crashing during the first stage.

How is your team, and what do you expect over the next stages?

We’re just trying to keep everyone healthy and safe. For us, the time trial, two days from now, can’t come soon enough. Because once that time trial happens, that’ll calm a few nerves down. There will be a couple people who will lose enough time they’ll lose the dream. It should, after the time trial, calm down, at least a little bit.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Watch ‘mom of the year’ save her kid from all these Tour de France riders crashing around them

'Mom of the year' save child from crashing riders at Tour de France
In an instant she saved the child from what could’ve been a tragedy as speeding riders crashed around them.

  • An attentive Tour de France spectator saved a child from high-speed crashing riders on Saturday.
  • In a moment of instinct, she snatched the child out of harm’s way as riders smashed to the ground around them.
  • The brilliant save came after two massive crashes on the opening day of the three-week race.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amid all the crashing and carnage on the wildest opening day in Tour de France history, a woman saved a kid from what could easily have ended in tragedy.

As the peloton was racing along at high speed inside the last five miles of stage one on Saturday, a touch of wheels caused a crash that sent dozens of riders to the ground, with several tumbling onto the roadside, where a number of spectators were watching – including, presumably, the mother and child.

Here’s a clip showing more of the crash and save:

It was the second massive crash of the day.

Not long before, an oblivious spectator caused a huge pile-up when she held a cardboard sign out into the road directly in the way of the riders.

It sent dozens of riders to the ground, with some having to abandon the race because of injury.

The French police are looking for the woman and the race organizers are aiming to sue her, the BBC reported citing the AFP.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Oblivious Tour de France spectator holding a cardboard sign causes a gnarly crash that sends dozens of riders to the ground on the opening stage

Fan with cardboard sign causes Tour de France crash
The carnage on Saturday at the Tour de France after a fan holding a cardboard sign causes a massive crash.

  • Two dramatic crashes sent dozens of riders to the ground at the Tour de France on Saturday.
  • In one incident a roadside spectator holding a cardboard sign caused riders to crash en masse.
  • Several riders were injured, some abandoned, and many lost time on the opening stage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two horrific crashes on the opening stage of the Tour de France brought down dozens of riders on Saturday.

The first half of the stage, which started in Brest, in the northwest part of the France, was relatively quiet with a small breakaway up the road. But as the race heated up chaos ensued.

The first big crash happened when a rider at the front of the main bunch – Tony Martin on the Jumbo-Visma team – hit a fan’s cardboard sign sticking out into the road.

The fan holding the sign appeared to be looking at the TV cameras – not at the coming riders. Martin went down hard, sending a chain reaction through the peloton.

Here you can see an overhead view of the first big crash:

Here you can see the crash from the front, with Martin on the far left:

Here’s another look:

It wasn’t immediately clear how badly the riders were injured. Medical staff tended to the cyclists. Many had cuts and bruises but continued riding, albeit with bloody arms and legs.

The crash immediately forced at least one rider, Jasha Sütterlin of Team DSM, to abandon the race. Others were expected to have to stop as well. As for Martin he looked beat up but continued:

German Tony Martin rides with injuries on the arm and the leg after a crash during the first stage of the Tour de France
German Tony Martin on Saturday with injuries on the arm and the leg after a crash during the first stage of the Tour.

But not long after that first giant crash, there was another, this one happening at higher speed:

It wasn’t immediately clear what happened in the second crash.

Many on social media criticized the fan with the sign, including pro riders:

Many of the riders who crashed lost significant time.

Riders are helped by medical staff members during the 1st stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 197 km between Brest and Landerneau, on June 26, 2021.
Medical staff members help riders during the first stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France, between Brest and Landerneau, on June 26, 2021.

Julian Alaphilippe of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team went on to win the stage in Landerneau and take the leader’s yellow jersey.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Video: Massive Tour de France crash takes down nearly entire peloton after rider hits spectator’s sign

Horrific Tour de France crash takes down nearly entire peloton
A massive dramatic crash on the Tour de France’s opening stage on Saturday brought down much of the peloton.

  • A dramatic crash on the opening day of the Tour de France appeared to take down much of the peloton.
  • It appeared a rider at the front of the main bunch hit a fan’s sign and went down.
  • See the crash below.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A massive dramatic crash on the Tour de France’s opening stage on Saturday brought down much of the peloton.

It appeared that a rider at the front of the main bunch, Tony Martin on the Jumbo-Visma team, hit a fan’s cardboard sign and went down.

The sign appeared to be sticking out too far into the road.

See the video clips below.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of the riders were badly injured.

The crash forced at least one rider to abandon the race.

Many of the riders were back up riding relatively quickly.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Defending Tour de France champ is a 22-year-old Slovenian whose freakish physiology and metabolism mean he can recover 3 times as fast as his rivals

Tadej Pogacar racing in a Tour de France time trial in 2020.
“Tadej, his nature, he’s a beast,” his coach has said. “He’s not afraid of anything.”

  • Tadej Pogačar, the world’s best cyclist, is set to defend his Tour title starting on Saturday.
  • He’s only 22 but has already won the biggest races – often ruthlessly.
  • On Friday his coach shed some light on what makes Pogačar so good.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I once heard that the winner of the Tour de France is the rider who sleeps the best. After all, there are 21 days of racing. The riders cover 100 miles a day on average. They race hard.

There’s a reason. Nobody uses the Tour as training for another race. Riders use other races to train for the Tour. Ask anyone to name one bike race, and they’ll say the Tour de France. Team bosses want riders to get results. Sponsors want results. Everybody wants results, but only a handful get them.

The three-week race is often won not by minutes but seconds. It’s not enough to be good some days. To win the Tour, you have to be good every day. Have one bad day, and you can lose minutes. So a rider’s recovery is paramount.

Enter Tadej Pogačar, the 22-year-old Slovenian who shocked the cycling world last year to win the greatest race on the second-to-last day with a crushing performance in an uphill time trial.

He climbed so fast he not only won the stage but stole the leader’s yellow jersey from his chief nemesis in one of the biggest upsets in Tour history.

Cyclist Tadej Pogacar at the Tour de France prerace 2021.
Pogačar on Thursday in Brest, France, two days before the start of the 108th Tour and his defense campaign.

Pogačar, who became the youngest Tour de France winner in modern times, is so good at racing bikes he’s the super favorite to win the Tour again this year.

He’s just barely of legal drinking age, but Pogačar has already won numerous top races, notably Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour of California, and Tirreno-Adriatico. Last year’s Tour win was a culmination.

Now people are wondering how many times he can win it.

What, exactly, makes him so good?

I asked his coach, Iñigo San Millán, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He’s an expert in physiology and metabolism. He’s also the director of performance for Pogačar’s UAE-Team Emirates.

He’s tested Pogačar extensively and has helped him improve through specific training protocols.

“The main element is his mitochondrial function, which allows him to improve lactate clearance capacity as well as use both fat and glucose very well,” San Millán told me on Friday.

“Therefore allowing him to be very efficient metabolically speaking and holding high amounts of power output for long periods of time.”

The gist: Pogačar doesn’t go into the red easily or quickly. He can pedal harder for longer.

Tadej Pogacar Tour de France favorite aims to defend title in 2021.

But it’s not just that he’s better than you and me. He’s better than world-class riders. San Millán said it’s Pogačar’s powers of recovery that really make the difference.

“His physiology and metabolism are exceptional and also his recovery capacity,” he said.

“While it may take two to three days for others to recover, it may only take Tadej one day, which usually helps him in long stage races over the rest.” That’s depressing news if you’re a Pogačar rival.

But it’s not just that Pogačar won some “pick the right parents” lottery, which he did. It’s also racecraft and mindset and hard work.

“He reads the race very well,” San Millán said. “His head is really good at being calm and not being overwhelmed or demoralized. He also dials in training and nutrition.”

Winning the Tour is never easy, and there’s strong competition aching to crack the wunderkind in this year’s race, which runs from June 26 to July 18.

Still, Pogačar has returned to France with an even stronger team. He’s the top favorite. And he’s shown he’s tough.

Not long after Pogačar won the Tour last year, San Millán said: “Tadej, his nature, he’s a beast. He’s not afraid of anything, right? If he dies, he will die killing someone – on the bike, right?”

Read the original article on Business Insider