Sunday, July 02, 2006

Stage 1 - Le Tour 2006 - Blood on the road

Folks, it's great that Le Tour - and cycling in general - allows such barely-fettered spectating but it's sad when these 'giant hands' that spectators wave hit riders. Hushovd was close to the fence but didn't deserve the hit on the head and arm. At 66kmh it more than hurts. I don't really blame the spectators - it didn't look malicious - but it could have been. Like the gendarme incident with Jalabert, or the photographer in the middle of the road waiting too long for the perfect snap, or the bag that snared Lance - it just shouldn't happen. Either they enforce the 'no giant hand within 100m' rule or they improve the barrier fencing... both on mountain finishes and the sprints. Or riders keep well clear of the fence - and we all know that ain't gonna happen!

Smart move by Hincapie to get the extra points when he could. Hardly rocket science, though. He knew he had the chance and he clearly wanted it (the yellow). Thor's team should have predicted that one. Strange that Boonen faded - he seemed to accelerate twice. Perhaps the shambolic last 3 kms spooked his lead out men? It seemed perfect for Boonen, that long straight, but the chaos made it a bit better for McEwen. Still it was a decision to go on the inside that gave Jimmy Casper the win. The outside, pressed against the fence, offered no way through. When he got the space, he didn't wait. He had the open spaces and committed to the sprint. McEwen with all of his trademark dodging and weaving only got out from behind the mobile chicane just a bit too late. McEwen had more speed but didn't get the gap. It happens.

I'm watching the SBS vision here in Oz and Paul Sherwen just did another classic verbal screw up. Yesterday's was 'if you look at the panel on your screen it's showing Robbie McEwen's heart rate is 108... that can't be right, he'd be more like 180, so that's a mistake'. Yes, Paul, the mistake's on you. That was cadence, man, not heart rate. Sigh.

Today's Paulism was as the peleton passed Mount St Odile and he suggested it was the site of an aircrash in 1992, the craft in question being a "Boeing" A320. Sigh. Stick to bikes, Paul. Airbus make A320s, man, not Boeing. At least he got the year right. Sherwen and Ligget also had trouble working out that Hushovd had been cut on the arm during the sprint. They kept claiming it was after the sprint, when clearly he was looking at a red slash on his right arm before he crossed the line.

Oh well, back to the racing...

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