Ahead of two grueling days filled with some truly punishing ascents, the main contenders on the Tour de France were all hoping that Wednesday would be a nice, relaxed day on the bike.
That didn't happen.
Instead of what riders call a “transition” day, with a comfortable run to the gateway to the Pyrenees mountains, Stage 11 proved to be a brutal experience for some of the top riders after a series of crashes left them nursing cuts and bruises.
When crosswinds started making the bunch nervous toward the end of the 126-mile stage from Eymet to Pau, the stress became palpable and led to several crashes at the back of the peloton.
German sprinter Marcel Kittel...