A three-man breakaway pulled clear early in the second-longest stage of this year’s Tour and opened up a lead of more than seven minutes as the race traveled from Holland to Belgium.
David Millar and Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso crashed into a dog after 35miles into the stage. Race leader Fabian Cancellara fell, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloeden both suffered minor abrasions, and
The sprinters teams set a high pace in the peloton to keep the trio within reach as the course. The open and flat course opened the peloton to the force of the heavy crosswinds. The breakaway groupetto were reeled in with 10 km to go to set up the mass sprint.
Mark Cavendish, who won six Tour stages last year crashed with Oscar Freire while negotiating a sharp turn in the last few kilometers.
Without Cav in the mix it looked like the win had been setup for Tyler Farrar but in the final sprint his bike got hit from behind and he had to walk it across the line.
Alessandro Petacchi who hasn’t ridden and Tour de France since 2004 when he collected four stage victories – won a easy sprint to win the first stage.
Australia’s Adam Hansen of HTC-Columbia suffered a broken collar bone from a earlier crash and has abandoned the Tour.