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What a ripper of a stage ... for a flatlands stage that is. The breakaway captured my heart, especially the big bloke from Milram - loved the bit where he ripped into the other codger for trying to take two intermediate sprints instead of sharing them among the threesome.
I felt for those caught at the back during those cross winds, you could see them struggling just to stay on the tail. And the wet roads from all that rain - anyone else see the lightning in the distance?
The lack of organisation at the front was interesting. Still a lot of shadow boxing among the sprinters methinks with no-one willing to really commit themselves, though they did just enough to reel in the breakaway - it's situations like this where breakaways can succeed. There seems to be a good spirit among the sprinters (in general) too - did you see Robbie fighting through the pack of journos to congratulate the winner?
The crash had me heart in me mouth. What a biggie. Christopher commented in another thread that no-one was seriously hurt, which I find amazing. Sure messed up the end of the race.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
I thought it was an excellent race. Like Richard said, a little frustrating that they didn't take it up to the breakaway a bit earlier, but that's the tactics they use, so good on them I s'pose.
I thought that Robbie was caught up the crash for sure. Pity he couldn't make more of an impact upon the eventual leaders, but you can't win every stage I guess.
Another bleary eyed night coming up. Luckily I'm doing graveyard shift for this week, so I get to see it live while working. Next week will another story.
What a stage. What A Stage.
The rain made it interesting. Just enough to cause a bit of uncertainty about whether the peloton would catch the breakaway, but in the end it didn't really affect the outcome. Woulda been heart in mouth for the riders riding into it though, wondering if it would hit them. And I still have no idea how on earth you ride in the middle of a 70-strong pack while putting a jacket on.
still not sure why the crash though, maybe the rain? saw the Milram rider suddenly sweep right and take everyone out; if he wasn't in the middle of a pack I'd have said it was a huge gust of wind! Anyone got any word?
The other Milram rider in the breakaway though, that Sieberg is a legend. Like Richard said, loved it when he pulled the other chap Herve back and let Perez take his share of the sprints. Must've been for all of them heartbreaking to have worked for 100+km and get caught 2km from the line though. Ah, c'est la vie.
For a moment I thought Robbie had gone down in the pack. Then I see him sticking his head out in the final sprint, and I thought, you don't say he's gonna power through here again?! But he didn't, and good on Boonen for not grudging Steegmans the stage (yeah, I reckon he may have put another burst in right at the end, don't know if that would've got him first, but would've made it that much closer, but realised he was gonna get green anyway, and was happy with a team win).
Anyway, that's another sleepless night down, and many more to come!
I'm sure I heard the commentators speculating during one of the replays that the Milram rider who precipitated the big pile up pulled out of one of his pedals, and that caused the swerve. It's possible, I suppose, even the best pedals can sometimes let go under stress. Tomas Vaitkus from team Discovery Channel is out of the Tour needing surgery on a broken thumb, but fortunately (and suprisingly) no one else has had to drop out as a result of the crash.
I was seriously impressed by the breakaway, especially Sieberg. I loved the way he put Herve in his place.
Did you see the guy on the right drag the barrier with him? Must have hurt.
And the size difference, it was like a father putting his wayward son in his place.
Almost forgot about that. I was in awe at how that guy did that. I struggle to keep my hands off the bars for more than a few seconds, but to don a jacket, while pedalling at 40kph in a pack of other riders. Amazing.
According to CyclingNews...
Milram's Erik Zabel admitted to making the sudden move which set off a horrific crash during the finale of the Tour de France's stage two in Gent. Zabel explained that he made the move, saying, "I had to avoid Boonen, who was riding in front of me." When Zabel suddenly veered to the right to avoid running into Boonen's rear wheel, he clipped the front wheel of Liquigas' Manuel Quinziato, setting off a chain reaction that held up the vast majority of the peloton.
Not the worst crash I've heard about in the last 24hrs though (see general discussion), but luckily no serious injuries though a few out of the race.
Go Stage 3!!
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