Another late 'catch' by the bunch created chaos - again - with crashes before and after Samuel Dumoulin and Bjorn Schroder's capture. They were looking good for a while with 7 minutes lead at 100km to go, then 6 minutes with 70km to go... but the inevitable proved itself, well, inevitable. Amazingly the top sprinters managed to stay upright and a wild scramble erupted as the line appeared with a kilometre to go. Oscar Freire won - boosting his green jersey hopes - and Tom Boonen took second. Seemingly unable to capture that elusive 1st place, Tom nevertheless remains in yellow. He puts his failure to convert down to nerves. Not just his nervous anxiety - everyone's.
The time bonuses have pushed out the gaps a bit. The main mover has been Freire, now in 3rd place overall - up from 20th. Amazing what a win can do. We have 51 riders within the first 60 seconds of yellow, and 93 within a minute 51 secs. It's still very close. The TT on Saturday should shake it up.