Tour de France Stage 14: Velits 8th, Tacks in Road Sabotage Race
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Martin Velits made the key breakaway of Tour de France Stage 14 on Sunday, finishing 8th as the break split on the final climb of the day, the Category 1 Mur de Péguère (9.3km, 7.9% average gradient).
A group of five riders cleared enough of a gap to drop their former breakmates, and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) won solo after attacking the select group with 10km to go. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was 2nd, and Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) was 3rd.
Perhaps the biggest and most disturbing story of the day was a series of flat tires within a 4km span at the top of the final climb. One of those with a flat, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), was caught stranded without a mechanic or rider able to provide him with a tire. Team Sky ProCycling, with yellow jersey wearer Bradley Wiggins, refused to attack, and Wiggins soon punctured himself. Robert Kiserlovski (Astana Pro Team) crashed around the same time, and was forced to abandon the Tour de France. Levi Leipheimer, unfortunately, collided with Kiserlovski.
"Brajkovic had a flat tire just after the last GpM," Leipheimer said. "Kiserlovski moved from left to right to give him his wheel and I couldn't avoid the collision. I hit him and I crashed. I feel bad for him, but it was an accident."
Leipheimer has some deep cuts and bruises on the right hip, knee and elbow.
Race commissaires confirmed tacks were found in the road, and Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team found tacks in their tires.
Sylvain Chavanel, still ill and needing antibiotics, fought hard and finished.
Instagram Photo Credit: OPQS Press Officer Alessandro Tegner