The biggest news of Wednesday's Tour de France had nothing to do with the leaders. Reigning champion Christopher Froome was forced to abandon the race after a series of falls in one of the most grueling stages in the race's history. Froome also had a bad fall in Stage 4 and struggled in the early going of Stage 5.
Just what made Stage 5 so difficult and had cyclists dreading it since the day the course was announced?
From the moment the 2014 course was announced, it was clear that Stage 5 had the potential to be the most chaotic. The final 72 kilometers featured 15.4 kilometers of cobblestones, which are hell for cyclists. Haimar Zubeldia, 37 years old and presumably numb to anything that can happen on a road course at this point, said that the best strategy was to "hope not to have bad luck."
Unfortunately for the Tour, its best cyclist had the worst luck of all. And that -- not the results -- will be the lasting legacy of this Stage 5, writes SB Nation's Louis Bien.
Lars Boom won the day, and if you've never heard of him that's okay. He's a repeat national champion in the Netherlands, but has done little at the world level. Stage 5 was never about crowning a winner, anyway. It was about the carnage that would ensue. Our atavism has been satisfied as much as it can be in this sport, the headlines our taunt.
You were the sacrifice we demanded, Christopher Froome.
- Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling)
- Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)
- Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team)
- Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
- Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
- Jens Keukeleire (Orica Greenedge)
- Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
- Lieuwe Westra (Astana Pro Team)
- Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
- Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
- Vincenzo Nibali
- Jakob Fuglsang at 2"
- Peter Sagan at 44"
- Peter Sagan (185 pts)
- Marcel Kittel (135 pts)
- Bryan Conquard (121 pts)