I have been trying to piece together some more info on yesterday's big crash. The crash, which involved all teams and more than 50 riders happened near the bottom of the 1st KOM. According to Hunter who was close by -he went into the ditch, it was caused by a motorcycle entering the pack and spooking riders. The motorcycles in question are signalers who rush from intersection to intersection to close the road. Several riders told me the motorcycles trying to get through the pack on the narrow roads are a problem.
When the motorcycle entered the pack, they were all spread out across the road and all went dow like dominoes. The motorcycle also hooked two riders and it went into the ditch too.
Erik was involved in the crash but he was near the very front and got up quickly. Both Alex and Kyle were also near the front -albeit a bit further back- but they were in the middle of the pile-up so it took them time to disentangle their bikes. Alistair was further back and fell on top of people, but his bike was trashed.
When we heard the announcement on the race radio, "All teams in huge crash," we rushed to the front and I ran out of the car. Then I met Alistair who was running back with a broken bike. We got him a new bike and gave a push and off he went. Then it took quite a bit of time before we were able to get going again.
In the meantime, as the remainder of the pack rounded the first corner uphill there was another crash that further held up traffic. Erik and Hunter were in a small group of 20 and they were able to rejoin the peloton quickly, so we never knew about their situation.
When the caravan got moving we sped up the road and found Alistair who was gaining quickly on the climb. We helped him along a bit but the peloton crested before he could make it to the top. The descent was very fast and he could not match their speed. We were also in no position to help much
Later on the descent we "found" Alex and a bit later Kyle. We tried to help all three but only Alistair could make it up the remaining climbs fast enough to have a chance. Kyle outclimbed Alex but he wasn't as fast.
On a later climb we helped Alistair up because his front derailleur was stuck and he could not downshift from his big ring. When Alistair crested we waited for Alex. But it was clear he and Kyle were not going to make it. Later on Alistair got close to the pack several times (always on the climbs) but just missed them going over the top. We tried to help but ultimately had to let go of him at the start of the local circuits. He still has some learning to do in working with the cars.
One team staying with us lost four riders in that crash. Two other riders ended up in the hospital with broken bones.
Last night the organizer visited us here and we gave him an AC Jersey.
Today last stage.