From a royal send-off to fittingly colorful sheep, the big first day got underway with full fanfare in the English city of Leeds, followed later in the day by polka dot victory for this year’s oldest rider. Then, as instantaneously as everything can change in cycling, stage 1 did not end as hoped for the day’s largely anticipated winner. Not only did the region’s star competitor lose the day– but rather, complete disaster prevailed. With the rare chance to capture yellow in a sprint finish on not just his native soil but his mother’s hometown of Harrogate– before the eyes of William, Kate, Harry, Prime Minister Cameron and thousands of supporters, not to assume any pressure of course– shockingly, painfully, and in a cycling instant, it did not happen.
The 101st Tour de France appears likely to resume with one less rider at the start of stage two in York, a huge loss indeed to the next 20 days of racing. Sadly enough to say, for as “royally” as his day began, his crash on finish line approach looks like a pretty bad one for Mark Cavendish.