Tour de France

MTN-Qhubeka riders OK after crash

2015-07-06 21:47
Several riders lie on the road after crashing during the third stage of the Tour de France. (Christophe Ena, AP)

Huy - All the riders on South Africa's MTN-Qhubeka team are unscathed after huge crashes on the route to the top of the Mur de Huy.

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) took the victory, just ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale). Froome would also move into the yellow jersey.

The day began promising for MTN-Qhubeka as Serge Pauwels got into the break early on, escaping with three other riders. While the break was caught with around 60km to go, Pauwels's efforts were well rewarded as the first Belgian across the line at kilometre 15 would win a car. Being the only Belgian in the break, Pauwels will drive away with a brand new Peugeot after the Tour.

Quite nervous

The main talking point of Monday was the massive crash that occurred just after the break had been caught. A touch of wheels at high speed saw a massive pile-up of around 40 riders.

MTN-Qhubeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Tyler Farrar all went down, but they were all able to rejoin the peloton after race organisers neutralised the race.

Once things got under way again with 50km to go, it was a mad dash to the foot of the Mur de Huy. The team's two young Africans, Louis Meintjes and Merhawi Kudus formed part of the select favourites group that arrived at the foot of the Mur together. Meintjes crossed the line in 22nd place and Kudus ended 30th.

Crashed on the grass

Janse van Rensburg said: "It was quite nervous leading up to the point of the crash as everyone was fighting for position before the first climb of the day. There was a touch of wheels up front and all I saw was guys on the floor. We were going so fast on that downhill that there wasn't even a chance to brake and about 30-40 riders went down. I crashed on the grass so I am okay. Daniel and Tyler look a bit worse than me but they still look okay to continue.

"We had massive support today (on Monday) from before the start with so many fans coming out to see us. There were Eritrean flags everywhere so when I started I was really motivated. Unfortunately it was a bad race. I have never seen anything like this before...everybody gets so nervous and there was a massive crash. So when I was riding in the peloton I was a little bit scared and didn't ride right in front but actually I was feeling good," Kudus added.

At least four riders quit the race after the crash - Simon Gerrans, Tom Dumoulin, William Bonnett and Dmitry Kozontchuk.

Read more on:    2015 tour de france  |  belgium  |  cycling

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