Paris-Tours 2017



Good afternoon, Steph here covering the last of this season's classics, Paris-Tours. Before we go live though I want to bring you news from yesterday's horrific crashes at Il Lombardia.

You will probably have seen this footage of Laurens de Plus being catapulted into a ravine on a descent as he chased down the leader:

And on that score the news is good with no serious injury.

However, cameras didn't capture the 3 other riders who met the same fate at the same corner but with worse consequences. Jan Bakelants suffered 7 broken ribs and cracked vertebrae, UAEs Petilli also broke vertebrae and collar bone and Martinez of Willier has severe bruising but nothing broken. Photographer Kristof Ramon was on the scene and took this pic of Bakelants bike 4m up in the trees.

All pretty shocking and our best wishes go out to the riders for a swift recovery. Let's hope that particular corner is better protected should it be part of a race in future.

On to today's action and we have a 234.5km race from Brou to Tours. That's right its called Paris-Tours but it starts nowhere near Paris and goes in the opposite direction.

It's a race which could be won by a punchy rider in the break or a traditional bunch sprint. In the latter case we have some big names here hoping to finish the season on a high. Last year's winner Gaviria of Quick Step is up there along with Griepel, Bouhanni, Groenewegen and obviously Mark Cavendish. I've got a good feeling today for Cav, fingers crossed.

A 5 man breakaway has 2m 26s on the peloton. All is calm as there's 55km to go.

A few climbs at the back end today, the steepest of which reaches 8% and apparently all can be done in the big ring so not enough to put off the out and out sprinters.

No Sagan nor van Avermaet today but Trentin and Terpstra might fancy their chances here. However, the weather looks pretty benign and I can't see anything but a bunch sprint to finish this off. Famous last words huh?