With 50km remaining on the race’s longest stage, an accident on a straight road between Bar-le-Luc to Saint-de-Voogues quickly escalated into a massive crash that knocked half the field off their bikes.
With dozens involved, it took several minutes for the riders to untie themselves from each other’s bikes.
Several riders suffered bumps and bruises, with SD Worx’s Chantal van den Broek-Black having her right arm joined by medical staff in the team car while riding, while former Italian champion Marta Bastianelli struggled through tears to keep going.
However, the massive backlog brought Movistar’s Emma Norsgaard to the end after she was forced to retire with injuries sustained.
These things can happen on long stretches of road, said former British bike rider Danny Christmas.
“If you are very relaxed, if the riders are not concentrating, then accidents can happen. The speed in the group must have been so high that many of the riders were affected.”
At the end of the 175.6km stage, the longest in the recent history of the Women’s World Tour race, DSM’s Lorena Webbs took first place.
The Dutch rider, who also won the shortest stage in the Tour de France women’s race on Sunday, showed why she is the best sprinter, with world champion Elisa Balsamo second and Marianne Voss third.
However, Foss’ additional four seconds saw her increase her lead in the general classification to 20 seconds.
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