With 25km to go, Alessandro Petacchi took off his shoe covers and passed them to team mate Davide Vigano. Vigano was riding one-handed as he tried to put the shoe covers in his back pocket whilst riding downhill at around 70km/h when, unable to brake, he rode into the backwheel of the rider in front of him, prompting a wave of crashes at high speed.
That’s what L’Equipe says today. I’d add some more context. First, it seems to have come from Danilo Hondo of the same team, although this isn’t mentioned by the newspaper.
Petacchi presumably had the covers to keep his feet dry during the day but didn’t want the extra weight on his feet for the finish, a normal trick for the sprint.
We’d seen the breakaway up the road put on a tight leash, the bunch had closed in almost too quickly. But with the rolling roads and the wind, the bunch seemed nervous already. The wind had got up too, making the bunch nervous, adding even more pressure on the riders to be at the front.
Text below from the San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate.com
The parents of an Oakland bicyclist killed while speeding down a hill in Tilden Park two years ago plan to file a negligence lawsuit Monday in San Francisco against a Mission Street outfit that allows weekend athletes to use GPS to compare their racing times online.
“If they are going to host events, give away prizes and draw in users to get the fastest times, then someone should at least come out and see that the routes are safe,” said Susan Kang, attorney for the family of William “Kim” Flint, the 41-year-old electrical engineer who died in the bicycling accident June 19, 2010.
Kang says Flint was “obsessed” with the bike-times website maintained by Strava Inc., the company being named in the lawsuit. He had learned the night before he died that someone using the site had beaten his record “King of the Mountain” time on the same hill, she said.
Flint was going more than 40 mph down South Park Drive in the East Bay hills park when he suddenly braked to avoid hitting a car, causing his bike to flip and throwing him to the pavement. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Just two weeks earlier, after having broken the Strava record, Flint wrote on Twitter: “49.3 mph, on a bike. How I find religion on Sunday morning.”
According to Kang, the accident has parallels to the case of Chris Bucchere, the bicyclist charged in San Francisco last week with felony vehicular manslaughter for running down a 71-year-old pedestrian in the Castro. Prosecutors say the crash happened at the end of a ride in which Bucchere was tracking his time on Strava. “We don’t have a comment,” said Rachel Parsons, Strava’s marketing vice president, when asked Friday about the pending suit and the Bucchere case.
Incidentally, the Flint family’s lawsuit doesn’t specify the exact damages. But Kang says, “It will not be a small amount.”
Why does Europcar’s rider Giovanni Bernaudeau have an Italian first name?
In 1980 Frenchman Jean-René Bernaudeau won a stage of the Giro d’Italia and finished the race fifth overall, and he won the best young rider competition. The race was won by Giovanni Battaglin who left an impression because a little later Bernaudeau named his son Giovanni.
Bernaudeau has said he named Giovanni after Battaglin. Father and son are today united on the same team with Bernaudeau senior as the team owner and Giovanni as a rider.