Sport on TV: Don't whine, it's just another pile-up on the French roads

There are so many jerseys and podiums and girls dressed as airline stewards in the coverage of the Tour de France (Eurosport), it's amazing they find the time to do any cycling. There's the yellow jersey, the green, polka dot, white... The only shirt that's missing is the red top, but they have rather gone out of fashion.

Wednesday's race on the bumpy roads of Brittany was fraught with incident and accident. Bradley Wiggins told ITV4: "It was a really, really horrible stage. The worst day so far." And there was worse to come when he broke his collarbone on Friday and had to leave the Tour. It's all starting to resemble the Jean-Luc Godard film Le Weekend, in which a couple go away for a break but get stuck in traffic jams for days on end in the French countryside behind a succession of gruesome crash scenes.

Early on in Wednesday's stage, Wiggins suddenly jumped off his bike and threw it in the hedge. The riders seem to veer off the road at regular intervals anyway without doing it on purpose. The pursuing team car screeched to a halt inches behind him and gave him a new bike, which was lucky because he would have been a long way behind without one.

Then last year's winner, Alberto Contador, crashed and was pictured forlornly fiddling with his helmet straps by the side of the road. It's not often the average punter can identify with these titans of tarmac, but when it comes to sheer endurance we've all agonised over our straps and buttons as the rest of the world speeds by.

Despite the monumental effort involved, the scenario is familiar. Mad men on bikes not heeding the rules of the road, speeding cars with sirens blaring, road rage and pedestrians shouting at cyclists; just a normal day in a British city of your choice. The crowd, however, love every moment – they have to, since the peloton is past them in a flash. For their two seconds of spectacle, however, it's no surprise to see the French setting out a picnic. Any excuse for opening a bottle of wine.

Eurosport's commentator, David Harman, was struggling to keep up with the chaos. "Crash after crash after crash! The wind playing havoc! Brajkovic battered! He's out! Not to be back in!" He seemed befuddled, as if he might have been ingesting a few banned substances. "There's street furniture, flower pots, a raging tailwind!" he added, clearly hallucinating that the riders were being chased down the street by Bill and Ben and some café tables and chairs.

As it happened, he had no idea who won the stage. "It's gonna be a straight fight between the Spaniard, the Belgian and the Australian. Oh no, it's Cavendish!" He quickly added the rider: "You have to say, he came out of nowhere." Another hallucination?

The drugs endemic in the Tour can only make the road rage worse, of course. But even the riders who are clean can get caught up in the general sense of paranoia. Mark Cavendish, who had been gesticulating furiously during the race, was ranting wild-eyed afterwards about attempts to impede him. "I got bashed by a guy that's six foot two the other day! What do I do?" Grab a baguette on your way past and beat him with it?

Nicky Sorensen was another victim, knocked off his bike by a motorcyclist who was apparently sacked on the spot like some tabloid hack. Like the journalists, just another case of a cyclist in the gutter.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Administration Assistant / Office Assistant

£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Chosen to lead the women's wing of the ruling Zanu-PF, the wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding the 90-year old
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution