Nairo Quintana was suddenly in deep trouble on the first stage of the Tour de France.
He needed a wheel and no Movistar teammates were anywhere in sight. Teammates Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde were not coming back to help and Quinatan’s personal guardian angel José Joaquín Rojas had already been involved in a crash.
Worse, he needed two wheels, not one. Double trouble.
Mavic neural support did a glacial wheel change and the Movistar team car was also held up. Quintana’s dream of winning the Tour de France after two second places was already in dire straits.
it was a crazy day for Quintana and BMC’s Richie Porte, who was held up by a crash with 10.7 kilometers to go, and reigning Tour champion Chris Froome of Team Sky, who was squeezed into a ditch with 5.4 kilometers left to race.
However, none suffered more bad luck than Quintana who broke both his wheels after going over a traffic island. He’d lose 1:15 to top contenders such as To Dumoulin (Sunweb), Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and his own teammate and potential rival Landa.
If Froome’s opening day was an unlucky one, Quintana’s misfortune was far worse. Froome dropped 51 seconds to the leading group of GC riders but Quintana lost even more. “That’s how things are,” Quintana said. “We have to keep going. We have to try to stay in front and make up what we lost today.”
If day one is any indicator, we’re in for a wild ride and a wide open race. The first week is alway chaos but the speed, risk-taking and crashes are certainly more than anyone expected for the top GC riders. As Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas put it, “the last 20km things went a bit bonkers.”
We have a feeling the 2018 Tour de France may well be defined by that description: bonkers.