Falls and injuries on the Tour de France: riders protest at the start of stage 4 (Photo by Michael Steele / Getty Images)

TOUR DE FRANCE – The riders of the Tour de France expressed their dissatisfaction with the multiplication of falls this Tuesday, June 29, by dismounting for one minute, 500 m after the start of the 4th stage between Redon and Fougères.

In a regrouped peloton, and in slow motion, the 177 riders still in the race, with in the first row the main leaders -Mathieu van der Poel in yellow, Julian Alaphilippe in green- first, and as usual, swallowed the The first nine fictitious kilometers of the stage, a traditional parade intended to greet the public at the start.

Arrived at the real start, the peloton, visibly not unanimous on the approach to follow, continued on its way, before finally stopping a few hundred meters further, on the initiative of sprinter Andre Greipel. Foot on the ground but without getting off the bike, the riders stood still for one minute, before resuming the road.

According to Radio Tour, “the riders have come to a stop and are driving slowly to demand that a dialogue on safety be established with all cycling stakeholders, UCI, organizers, teams and riders”.

Cascading falls, injuries and dropouts

Since the start of the Tour on Saturday, the race has been marked by violent and spectacular falls, with multiple causes: a spectator caused a fall while holding up a sign; the rain-soaked pavement surprised runners; the sometimes tortuous profile of the final, and the excessive speed of the peloton led on Monday to a game of massacre, where the sprinters as big favorites for the final victory were bruised in their flesh.

From km 37, a first red alert sounded when the winner of the 2018 Tour Geraint Thomas (Ineos) had tested asphalt, while Robert Gesink (Jumbo), lieutenant of Primoz Roglic, was forced to give up, victim of a head traumastism and concussion. Primoz Roglic has meanwhile also collected several injuries, but still joined the start on Tuesday, covered in bandages. “The mummy will be at the start,” he joked on Instagram.

In the narrow and winding descent towards Pontivy, where the first massive sprint of the 108th edition of the Tour was to take place, it was the Slovenian leader who in turn fell, following his American teammate Sepp Kuss.

Bis repeated in a downhill bend, less than 5 kilometers from the line: fall and slowdown for sprinters like Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) or ranking men like the outgoing winner Tadej Pogacar (UAE) or the Australian Jack Haig (Bahrain), forced to quit (concussion and fractured left collarbone).

Finally, Caleb Ewan slipped in the last corner and in the final sprint, dragging Peter Sagan into his crash. Ewan (left collarbone fracture) also had to drop out and will be operated on Wednesday.

150.4 kilometers long, the last Breton stage of the 108th edition of the Grande Boucle does not include any listed ascent.

Arrival in Fougères is scheduled between 4:50 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. (2:50 p.m. and 3:10 p.m. GMT). During the last arrival of the Grande Boucle à Fougères in 2015, the Briton Mark Cavendish had dominated the sprint of the peloton in front of the German André Greipel and the Slovakian Peter Sagan, all present at the start of the 2021 edition.

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