The Tour de France's third stage was marred by a very nasty, high speed crash which took a handful of racers out of the event, and marred the progress of several more.
But there is a much more interesting video that will be making the rounds today: [Warning! The sound includes some painful moaning, might want to mute it.]
Yes, it's all very dramatic, but it's also quite interesting. Usually we see replays of the crash and closeups of the injured riders, trying to determine whose race is over. But if you're a team mechanic coming to your rider's assistance, there is real work to be done. Here are a few observations of the efforts made by Orica-GreenEdge's Fausto Oppici.
0:02 -- bring wheels. check.
0:19 -- Just arriving on scene. Ever heard people on a team groan about their car position? If you're car #18, it's a long way up to the front, even when the entire race has come to a standstill.
0:29 -- found one of our guys. Unfortunately it's Michael Matthews, one of the team's best hopes for a stage win and maybe even the green jersey.
0:32 -- Time to fix the... helmet? Lots of things can break in a crash, and Matthews' helmet has its straps torn out. Not sure how to put that back together. Do teams carry extra helmets in the car boot?
0:44 -- Steady on lad. Matthews looks a bit wobbly getting up. Might need a helping hand. Also I wonder if there's a moment of the mechanic doing some assessment? You want to help the rider, but that may or may not call for getting him back on his bike, even if he wants to.
1:00 -- found the bike!
1:40-2:35 -- remember what I said about car positioning? Also, remember that there is still a race heading up the road?
2:50 -- The car has moved up at least. One more bike change. Unfortunately it's another sprinter, Darryl Impey.
3:02 -- thank you for not running me over, MTN-Qhubeka
3:40 -- Impey is off.
3:50 -- Another rider to tend to. Unfortunately it's team captain Simon Gerrans, and he's holding his arm in collarbone position. His Tour is done.
4:50 -- The sight of a stretcher in the background tells you how serious things are.
5:00 - Finish -- Bikes need sorting. There's still a race on, and you need to a) not leave $15,000 bikes lying around; and b) make sure the cars have replacements for the guys still riding.
Whew! All that in a highly emotional setting with hurt people, cars and motos moving through, and a rapidly unfolding drama.
Oh, and on a lighter note... searching for "Tour de France crash gif" can end up in some kind of awesome places.