tOur de france

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - — Suzanne Hal­libur­ton

Stage win sweet­ness for Quick­step rider

SPA, Bel­gium —France’s Syl­vain Chavanel, in pick­ing up his sec­ond ca­reer Tour de France stage vic­tory, got emo­tional as he crossed Mon­day’s fin­ish line.

He frac­tured his skull rid­ing much of the same route back in April dur­ing Liege-Bas­togne-Liege, a spring clas­sic. The in­jury forced him out of com­pe­ti­tion for eight weeks.

He’s a top rider for Quick­Step, a team based in Bel­gium. The huge crowds were cheer­ing him on in Spa. And he was con­grat­u­lated by Eddy Mer­ckx, the Bel­gian cy­cling great.

“Pure hap­pi­ness,” Chavanel said, de­scrib­ing his emo­tions.

He es­caped from the pelo­ton within the first six miles and won by 3 min­utes, 56 sec­onds. The other rid­ers, who were pan­icked by the num­ber of crashes, even­tu­ally stopped chas­ing Chavanel.

Blame the oil

Johan Bruyneel said the rainy con­di­tions mixed with oil caused the crashes, and not the dan­ger of the route. Still, there was some buzz that the ma­jor­ity of the rid­ers de­lib­er­ately slowed the pace to protest.

In­jury re­port

Lance Arm­strong bruised his thigh and tore his pants when he slid on the next-to­last de­scent of the day.

“I knew I was go­ing to be OK, but I was slid­ing for­ever,” Arm­strong said. “My first thought was, ‘Where’s my bike?’”

Arm­strong fin­ished the stage with his bike.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Al­berto Con­ta­dor had to use a new bike af­ter he crashed.

Nearly two dozen rid­ers who fin­ished the stage were treated af­ter­wards by the Tour doc­tors.

Three Amer­i­cans — Ge­orge Hin­capie, Chris­tian Van­de­velde and Tyler Far­rar — were on the in­jured list with mul­ti­ple con­tu­sions.

Van­de­velde had thought he could chal­lenge for a podium spot. But af­ter his crash, he was un­able to get back to the rid­ers ex­pected to con­tend for the yel­low jersey.

Van­de­velde fin­ished 5 min­utes, 53 sec­onds be­hind Arm­strong and Con­ta­dor.

Bas czerwinski AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Amer­i­can Tyler Far­rar gri­maces in pain fol­low­ing a crash in Stage 2, as medics treat his wounds.

christophe ena AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Stage win­ner Syl­vain Chavanel, fore­ground, broke away from the pack early in Mon­day’s stage.

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