A large crash during the 17th stage of the Tour de France yesterday left more than a dozen riders bruised, battered, and utterly confused where the hell their bicycles went.
"It was pure chaos," recounted American rider Cadel Evans, who agreed to interview despite having a substantial portion of his face mangled into a fleshy pulp.
The colossal accident occurred on a steep descent near the stage 17 finish line in Chorges. The most minuscule of contacts caused two riders travelling at speeds of over 40 miles per hour to lose control and initiate a chain reaction of violent collisions that sent dozens of bodies and bicycles flying through the air, reeling across the asphalt, and coming to rest at the bottom of the hill in a garbled pile of flesh and titanium.
"A lot of guys started scrambling for their bikes, but some just sat on the ground cupping their road rash while rocking back and forth and crying," said Evans of the frenzied scene. "Some guys were just kinda wandering around aimlessly because they had head injuries and were confused. A few ran off into the woods."
According to witnesses, many variously wounded and disoriented riders ended up getting back on the wrong bicycles. "Shit, this isn't my bike," uttered an incorrectly remounted rider, while another surveyed the wreckage wondering "was mine red or blue?"
"This can't be it, it doesn't match my spandex" and "how did my seat get wet?" were other phrases heard by witnesses in the panicky moments after the crash.
One rider who eventually did locate his bike was reported to have immediately toppled over again after discovering his arms were "contorted into a pretzel."
Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde was even seen immediately after the crash riding on a children's tricycle that had somehow become incorporated in the collisions. "I felt something was off," recalled Valverde after the race, "and when I looked down I realized I had mounted a Pink Barbie Tricycle." Race officials have urged police to keep an eye out for a missing and possibly mortally wounded young girl, just in case.
This crash came just days after Chris Frumme controversially won stage 15 by soaring over the finish line ahead of his bicycle.