Remember yesterday, how we said Wenatchee's Tyler Farrar was the guy to watch in the flat, sprint-happy stages of the Tour de France? That may be a moot point now.
This morning's stage through Belgium was a tangled mess, with nearly every big-name rider taking a spill on a treacherously slick descent (reportedly made even more slippery by a crashed motorcycle that leaked oil on the pavement). Lance Armstrong went down. Alberto Contador went down. Fabian Cancellara, who was wearing the leader's yellow jersey, went down.
And so did Farrar, along with half of his Garmin-Transitions team. A story posted on the Wenatchee World's site simultaneously suggests that Farrar broke his elbow on the descent and that he may not have broken his elbow. There are suggestions he will have to pull out of the Tour.
The stage was won by Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel, who broke away early in the race. (He now wears the leader's jersey.) Behind him, a group of battered race favorites decided not to contest second place, slowly cruising in as a group as a kind of protest against the course's nasty conditions.
And tomorrow could be even worse, as the course covers eight miles of cobblestones in a stretch of road made famous by the notorious Paris-Roubaix one-day race, known as the "Hell of the North."
Stay tuned here for more news on Farrar's condition.