July 9, 2010 (Use j/k keys to navigate)   Email to a friend    Permalink

Tour de France 2010 - the first week

Seldom is the first week of the Tour de France as riveting. Or as dangerous. But two stages in the normally flat domain of the sprinters produced surprising results and sent a pair of important riders home early. A rain and oil slicked descent spilled almost half the peloton, with riders hitting the deck hard. And a rough stage over the cobblestones on a route usually reserved for the rugged Paris-Roubaix spring classic race strung the peloton out and produced time gaps among the favorites not generally seen so early in the race. Crashes on these stages claimed both American Christian VandeVelde of the Garmin-Transitions team and Luxembourg's Frank Schleck of Saxo Bank, both of whom abandoned the race after breaking bones. They had finished last year's tour in the top ten. Add to this mayhem the bitter rivalry between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, the buzz around outspoken Mark Cavendish and his quest to repeat last year's six stage wins, and Cadel Evan's surge since winning the World Championship last year, and this tour is one for the ages. ( 34 photos total)

German fan Didi Senft, aka El Diablo, waves to the peloton July 7 during the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Cambrai and Reims. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Fabian Cancellara races through the Rotterdam time trial course during the prologue July 3. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Mathias Frank struggles through the time trial after crashing July 3 in Rotterdam. (PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Fans watch Lance Armstrong race the prologue time trial July 3 in Rotterdam. (PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton crosses the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam during the first stage July 4. (REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos) #

Fans protect themselves from the sun as they wait for the peloton to pass July 4 during the first stage between Rotterdam and Brussels. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton rides July 4 during the first stage. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Alessandro Petacchi celebrates winning the first stage in Brussels July 4. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski) #

Claire Pedrono uses a slate board to inform breakaway riders of the time gap they have on the peloton during the first stage. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton rides July 5 during the second stage between Brussels and Spa. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Eddy Merckx (right), the greatest cyclist in history, is flanked by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme July 5 in Brussels before the start of the second stage. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton, including yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara, passes a village near Brussels during the second stage July 5. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

The peloton rides July 5 between Brussels and Spa. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Frank Schleck continues after a crash during stage two July 5 in Spa, Belgium. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Christian VandeVelde struggles after a crash during stage two July 5 in Spa, Belgium. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Tyler Farrar waits for medics after a crash during stage two July 5 in Spa, Belgium. His Garmin -Transitions team was hit hard by crashes, with several going to the hospital. Farrar broke his wrist, and teammate Christian VandeVelde abandoned the race with broken ribs. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Juan Jose Oroz gets up after a crash during stage two July 5 in Spa, Belgium. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Cadel Evans endures the rain July 5 during stage two between Brussels and Spa. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Lance Armstrong rides in the rain July 5 during stage two between Brussels and Spa. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton descends in Spa, Belgium during stage two July 5. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Andy Schleck gets a push from a mechanic after a wheel change July 5 during the second stage between Brussels and Spa. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Fans watch stage two July 5 in Spa, Belgium. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

The peloton rides through forest in Brussels during stage two July 5. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Lance Armstrong (right) rides with Alberto Contador during the third stage between Wanze, Belgium and Arenberg, France July 6. Despite the appearance of the photo, Armstrong denied that he argued with his rival during the stage. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski) #

Riders fall on the cobblestones during the third stage July 6. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Tour de France doctor Gerard Porte tends to Frank Schleck after he crashed on a cobblestone section during the third stage July 6. (AP Photo/Joel Saget, POOL) #

Lance Armstrong, isolated after flatting, rides in a cloud of dust on a cobblestone section during the third stage July 6. (AP Photo/Fred Mons, POOL) #

Cobbles specialist Fabian Cancellara leads his Saxo Bank teammates over a cobblestone section during the third stage July 6. (REUTERS/Bernard Papon/Pool) #

The peloton covers stage four July 7 in Reims, France. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Riders get water at the team cars during the fifth stage between Epernay and Montargis July 8. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski) #

Mark Cavendish cries on the podium after winning the fifth stage July 8, his first victory in the race after a challenging season. (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel) #

The peloton passes a canal in Nemours during the fifth stage July 8. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

The peloton rides during the fifth stage between Epernay and Montargis July 8. (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir) #

The peloton passes sunflowers during the fifth stage July 8. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #



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Great selection Lane, pictures 14 - 17 show how gritty the early stage of this tour has been so far.

Posted by Mohamed July 9, 10 09:30 PM
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Keep up the good work!

Posted by PPD July 10, 10 10:51 AM
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Toughest sport in the word these guys are god's first or last place amazing sports men.

Posted by EB July 10, 10 05:51 PM
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nr 34 is a fake! Sunflowers always face the sun (as you can see the other sunflowers do that execpt the big ones at the front.)

Posted by herbert July 11, 10 06:28 AM
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wow

Posted by Steven July 11, 10 10:14 AM
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Ewwwww, gross. Eddy Merckx pictured in photo # 11 really needs to visit the dentist.

Posted by Slohan Rurag July 11, 10 10:30 PM
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On picture 28 Cancellara isn't leading "his teammates" the only other Saxo guy present is Andy Schleck.

But nice pics anyway! XD

Posted by RedheadDane July 12, 10 02:26 PM
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Fantastic photographs.

Posted by big jonny July 12, 10 02:50 PM
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farewell to LANCE

Posted by Leo July 13, 10 10:45 AM
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AMAZING!!! Perfectly captured moments

Posted by Jill Ort July 13, 10 12:08 PM
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The pictures are excellent, gripping. Photo 34 probably was not a fake. Sunflowers in the bud stage exhibit heliotropism. At sunrise, the faces of most sunflowers are turned towards the east. Over the course of the day they follow the sun from east to west, while at night they return to an eastward orientation. This motion is performed by motor ... See Morecells in the pulvinus, a flexible segment of the stem just below the bud. As the bud stage ends, the stem stiffens and the blooming stage is reached.
Sunflowers in their blooming stage lose their heliotropic capacity. The stem becomes "frozen", typically in an eastward orientation.[citation needed] The stem and leaves lose their green color.

Posted by EBB July 13, 10 05:39 PM
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Wonderfull pictures from this fantastic race. The stills give somthing Tv cant give.
Cycling is a realy hard sport.
Per from Sweden

Posted by Per July 14, 10 03:43 AM
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excellent pictures!! farewell lance but you're still my idol

Posted by yett July 22, 10 08:36 AM
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well done , this is a beutyfull collection

Posted by jetty July 25, 10 07:37 AM
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Fantastic Photos but why not have it as a Slideshow...?

Posted by Chris July 29, 10 08:12 AM
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Fantastic Photos but why not have it as a Slideshow...?

Posted by Chris July 29, 10 08:12 AM
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I wish I was there to watch it live

Posted by Ziva Tofach August 2, 10 10:27 AM
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The pictures are awesome. How does one get copies?

Posted by Christie August 2, 10 05:11 PM
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