Stage one of the Tour de France 2019 may well be remembered for having a quite unexpected occupant of the yellow jersey but was also defined by the crashes.
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) was brought down 20km from the line, suffering a cut above his eye presumably from his glasses digging in when he hit the deck, leaving blood pouring down his face. The Dane is hopeful of continuing despite his injuries, though.
Then as the peloton hurtled towards the finish line, a crash in the bunch brought down stage favourite Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and defending champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos), the Welshman is said to have not picked up any injuries.
However, we hear about the crashes but we sometimes never know about the near misses. During stage one, a Bahrain-Merida rider pulled off an incredible manoeuvre to avoid crashing and potentially bringing his Grand Tour to a premature end.
Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida) sees his team-mate hitting the deck right in front of him. As his team-mate’s front wheel starts swinging round, Tratnik manages to swerve and bunny hop up onto the kerb at a high-speed, successfully avoiding the crash. The video was from on-board footage posted on Velon CC’s Instagram story.
Many on social media believed the Bahrain-Merida rider in question was Vincenzo Nibali, the Italian well-known for his bike handling skills, but as the video progresses you can see Nibali looking back round at his team-mate, thought to be Damiano Caruso, on the tarmac.
If you watch closely, although Tratnik manages to avoid crashing, Caruso does bring down an Astana rider. Could this have been Jakob Fuglsang? It’s hard to tell from the video, but the rider does have a nasty fall, head-first on to the kerb, and so would align with Fuglsang’s head injury.
Tratnik eventually rolled across the line in 39th place, on the same time as stage winner Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), while Fuglsang was helped to the finish by his team-mates, managing not to lose any time and coming in 93rd.