I wrote previously of the drama of the early stages of the Tour. There was even more drama on the Tour's second stage as a huge crash on a slippery descent with 20 miles remaining brought down a significant portion of the peloton including a number of the favorites including Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and the Schleck brothers.
Such as massive pile-up so far from the finish could have had major implications on the fight for the yellow jersey, but just when things reached a critical stage a patron of the peloton, Fabian Cancellara, emerged and asked everyone to slow down so that those affected by the crash could regain the peloton. It is a bit debatable, but Cancellara's actions to slow the peloton certainly allowed the lone breakaway rider, Sylvain Chavanel, to win the day's stage and by such a margin that he took the yellow jersey off of Cancellara's back.
At first this might appear to be a very selfless act by Cancellara. However, it must be noted that at the time he declared a truce, his teammates, Andy and Frank Schleck were still trying to regain the peloton after crashing. So, the reason for Cancellara's actions are not entirely clear.
Regardless of his reasons, Cancellara's decision to ask the peloton to ride slowly is something that is rarely seen in bike racing. If the yellow jersey crashes it is common etiquette for the riders to wait, but when so many racers are affected by a crash there is no written or unwritten rules of the road on what should be done.
Personally, I think what Cancellara did was the right thing to do. The fact that so many riders went down seems to indicate that there might have been something on the road which caused the crash. This is something that is out of control of the riders so they should not have to pay a heavy penalty for what has happened.
But, this is, admittedly a very slippery slope. Clearly the Tour race organizers are looking to add some difficulty by including cobbles on stage 3. So, what is the difference between a slippery road and slippery cobbles. If there is a massive pile-up on the cobbles on stage 3 should the peloton ride slowly to allow everyone to regain the lead group?