The 2017 Tour de France got off to a wet and slippery start with today’s time trial, which featured many fan favorites such as rivals Chris Froome and Richie Porte. Team Sky took the lead with two of the top three times during the Grand Depart, and Geraint Thomas won the yellow jersey.
Many Accidents Due to the Weather
Rainy conditions have caused many cyclists to crash, although they’ve gotten back up quickly and continued the time trial. Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen fell to the ground after his front wheel slipped. Scott Thwaites was another victim of the weather, and he reportedly suffered from a lot of road rash as a result of falling. Other cyclists impeded by weather-related accidents include Rick Zabel, George Bennett, and Nicolas Roche.
Even when a 2017 Tour de France participant isn’t injured by falling or crashing, they still lose an average of 30 to 45 seconds off of their time. This can be a devastating blow for cyclists because it hurts their chances of making money. Each stage of the 2017 Tour de France, which is split across 21 days, provides points and prize money to those who finish in the top 15.
The Rivalry between Chris Froome and Richie Porte
Australian Richie Porte has suffered some tough luck losses in the past, and experts speculate that the 2017 Tour de France could be his last chance to win cycling’s greatest challenge. Richie Porte is part of the BMC Racing Team, a group that naturally rivals Chris Froome’s Team Sky.
Richie Porte has named Chris Froome as his top rival this year, and with good reason; Froome won the Tour de France in 2013, 2015, and 2016. Despite these victories, Team Sky’s Chris Froome still characterizes the 2017 Tour de France as the biggest challenge he’s ever faced during his cycling career.
How Are Richie Porte and Chris Froome Doing So Far?
Perhaps more concerned with finishing safely than acquiring any prize money during this stage, Richie Porte finished his first 2017 Tour de France trial 46 seconds off the pace. Chris Froome finished in sixth place, 12 seconds off pace. Despite this, they’re still the favorites heading into the next stage of the cycling competition.
Froome and Porte made a wise decision by starting more conservatively in order to avoid crashing or falling during the Grand Depart. After all, Alejandro Valverde crashed today, and it appears that he may have injured his knee, which could make him miss the rest of the 2017 Tour de France.
Aside from earning bragging rights, the individual who wins this year will take home €500,000. Overall, the 2017 Tour de France offers all participants, including Team Sky’s Chris Froome and BMC’s Richie Porte, the opportunity to win part of the €2,280,950 prize pool that will be divided up among the winners of each stage.
[Featured Image by Chris Graythen/Getty Images]