Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Le Tour de France 2007 - Stage 2 - And they all fell down

I forgot to mention that Aussie Brett Lancaster fell on stage 1 as well... and now just about everyone managed to fall or be blocked by the pile-up at the finish in Gent. No real surprise that home-town-boy Steegmans won, he looked like a future winner last year with his awesome, rocketing leadouts for McEwen and here he was arriving centre stage in front of his home crowd. It was just a matter of timing - let him go late enough and no-one's going to get past - not even Tom Boonen.

McEwen looked sore after his Stage 1 prang, and that uphill finish can't have been good for the wrist or the knee. What he didn't need was to lose his lead out man, Fast Freddy, who appeared to get tangled up in the big smash. McEwen himself was hit by a flying bike and only just escaped - at first I thought he went down when Zabel pulled his foot and caused the following rider to veer hard right. But it was the green Liquigas jersey of Quinziato instead. In comparison Quickstep seemed to escape damage, clearly a help to Steegmans and Boonen in in the end. That's bike racing.

We'll have to see who wakes up fresh and who wakes up sore to judge the full impact. Cancellara looked OK but he may have lost some domestiques - but then again, which team hasn't? Some will be battered and bruised but will hang in there at less than 100%, which will open up possibilities for the riders who are unscathed and can ride without (additional) pain. It's a long, long 236km stage so having a rest could be on some riders' minds. So expect breakaway action and another chase - but how complete and motivated to chase will the sprinters' teams be? Hey, it's their job - of course they'll chase.