Tejay van Garderen (center) was examined by BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Max Testa during his post-race cool down session. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Tour de France, Stage 1: Chaotic Finish

29.06.2013, Bastia, France

Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team safely survived a chaotic finish to the opening stage of the Tour de France Saturday while teammates Philippe Gilbert and Tejay van Garderen did not.

Finish Moved, Then Moved Again
Gilbert and van Garderen were involved in a crash in the final kilometers of the 213-km race. Speeds ramped up sharply, Gilbert said, after race officials announced a provisional finish line would be established at the three-kilometers-to-go mark because the actual finish line was blocked by a team motorcoach stuck beneath the finish truss. "You can imagine if you hear 10 minutes before we should finish that the finish line is moved to the third-to-the-last kilometer – that this creates a kind of chaos and then it becomes unsafe," the world road champion said. "Unfortunately I was one of those guys who crashed. I was riding around 25th position and they crashed in front of me. Of course this was a pity, certainly because van Garderen was riding on my wheel." Van Garderen said like Gilbert, he was fortunate not to be seriously injured. "We were doing our best to stay out of trouble but you just can't avoid everything," he said. "All things considered, I think I came away really lucky. All my joints are working, no bones are broken; I have a couple of scabs, but that's about it." Marcel Kittel (Team Argos-Shimano) took the stage win.

Evans Pleased With His Start
Brent Bookwalter, who had been helping Evans stay near the front in the final 30 kilometers, gave up his BMC to van Garderen after the crash. "The first half of the race was actually a little more calmer than what I would have expected," Bookwalter said. "But at the Tour, you always pay for that with the baseline of insanity that you're going to hit by the end. Sure enough, it got really crazy at the end." Ultimately, race officials gave all 198 riders the same finish time. Evans, who placed 23rd and in the front group that escaped the pile-up, said the final minutes of the race were confusing. "We don't always get the information, so I didn't know what was going on," he said. "So we just rode to the finish line and did our job." Evans said he was feeling good despite not having raced since his third place at the Giro d'Italia more than a month ago. "Race speed is always difficult to train for, but I'm really happy with physically how it started off," he said. "The guys are all riding really well, which is also important." BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said he had warned the team in the pre-race briefing to be well-positioned in order to stay out of trouble. "We know these races are always nervous, the first stages of the Tour de France," he said. "It will be like this every year and surely on the sprinter stages."

Listen to complete comments from Bookwalter, Evans, Gilbert (in French), Lelangue and BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz and van Garderen on the special BMC Racing Team Tour de France Audio Line.