Q&A With Sport Director Matt White on Tour de France Stage Ten

Tue 9 Jul 2013

Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) edged out André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) in the projected bunch sprint in Saint Malo. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) rounded out the podium after tangling with Kittel’s last lead-out man, Tom Veelers, 100m from the finish line. Veelers hit the ground in the middle of the road and looked set to spark a massive pile-up. Amazingly, no other rider went down although the efforts to avoid a larger crash disrupted the sprint.

ORICA-GreenEDGE was all in for Matt Goss on the first day of the second week of the Tour de France. While the sprinters had earmarked stage ten, it was far from flat. The lumpy day with one categorised climb finished along the coast where strong winds translated into high nerves.

An early break of four riders formed following the start of the stage. The quartet gained a 5’30 maximum advantage before first Team Sky and then teams with an interest in the sprint worked together to close the gap. As the peloton made their way towards the ocean, speeds increased, nerves heightened and the break’s advantage began to tumble.

“The last 50km was really stressful,” said Sport Director Matt White. “It was nearly flat out for the 90 minutes. The last 18km were quite technical, so it became even more nervous at that point. There were lots of turns, so we were always changing direction. It was very windy, very fast and very nervous.”

A few minor crashes disrupted the final hour of racing. Svein Tuft crashed out of the front group 18km from the finish. Matt Goss narrowly avoided going down in the sprint. White talks about both crashes and more in the fan-directed Q&A below.

Q: The sprint train looked a bit different than usual with Stuart O’Grady and Michael Albasini at the front instead of Brett Lancaster and Daryl Impey. Was that planned or did something go wrong?

Stuey and Albasini were on the front 5km from the finish. That had nothing do with our lead out. They were there to close down the break and stay out of trouble.  As usual, Brett and Daryl moved Gossy up in the lead out.

Q: How did Gossy manage to avoid that crash?

I haven’t seen a good replay myself but from what I’ve heard from the boys, Veelers' bike landed directly in front of Gossy and hit his front wheel. Gossy and his bike went into the air, and he was very, very lucky that he didn’t go into the crowd.

His foot came off the pedal as that unfolded. He was able to clip back in quickly but obviously lost all speed and that was it.

It’s unfortunate to miss out on an opportunity in that way, but we’re very glad he didn’t go down.

Q: Is Svein Tuft okay after his minor crash with Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp)? Are we worried that the crash will impact his time trial tomorrow?

Svein is completely fine. We could have used his horsepower in the final, so in terms of our objectives today, it wasn’t ideal to have lost him like that. On the other hand, he was able to sit up and roll in once he lost contact with the field and that saves his legs a bit before the time trial. He’ll be going 100% tomorrow.

Q: You said two days ago we’d need to see how Cam Meyer felt today before deciding how he’d approach the time trial tomorrow. What decision has been taken?

Cam will not go full gas tomorrow. He’ll ride within himself and focus on our plans for him later in the race.