The Tour de France started again last Saturday. Even though this was mostly a flat stage, it was by far the most exciting. There were a lot of crashes and retirements, which came as a surprise. The riders must have been weary and jittery, because the peloton wasn’t going all that fast when these things happened. Tom Boonen almost finished last but staved off time elimination so that he can ride again tomorrow. Cav won the stage, but the criticized the race organizers. That’s Cav as usual.
At 156km, there is a 4-man breakaway that has a 1:31 lead.
Guiterrez (Moviestar), Valentin (Cofidis), Turgot (Europcar), and De la Place (Saur-Sojasun) are in front.
There is a category 4 climb coming up before the sprint. Cadel Evans is leading the KOM comp. The lead is up to 2:14 with 153km left.
We see Cav talking to Wiggo about the head butt that got him DQ in the previous stage.
Perrez has to change a tire at 142.3km. The lead is up to 3:05.
The last 50-70km will be on the coast, so the riders will be buffeted by crosswinds. Poels (VAC) also has a flat.
The Garmin-Cervelo team is at the front of the peloton, doing a lot of pacing.
At 138.7km, the lead is 3:17. The leaders have started the climb. It looks like the peloton has slowed down. The lead is up to 3:38. Cav has a flat and needs to change tires.
Cancellara has a mechanical problem. He’s also got a bandaged wrist. He looks pretty calm. It is a saddle height issue.
At 132km, the lead is 3:58. At 128km, the lead is 4:31. Guiterrez is doing 30% of the pace-making. He is adjusting his handlebars on the fly. He’s smiling while he’s doing this. The Movistar Dogma2 looks pretty good in team colors. A lot better than the Caisse D’Épargne colors.
At 120.6km, the lead is 5:02. De la Place gets 1pt in the KOM comp. Guiterrez let him go. Now, they are descending. At 115km, the lead is 5:25 and going up.
At 108km, the lead us 5:42. Guiterrez is strategizing with his fellow escapees. There is a pileup at 104.7km in the peloton. It was nothing too hard. It was at very slow speed. Wiggo and Chavanel are involved. Wiggo gets a new bike.
The pileup happened because the peloton slowed so quickly. The lead is 5:50 and they’ve got 103.3km.
Wiggo does another bike change. At 94.8km, the lead is 5:38. Turgot wins the sprint ahead of Valentin and Guiterrez.
The peloton is starting the sprint. Rojas wants to keep the Green Jersey. Felliu wins this sprint ahead of Boonen.
There is a nasty crash at 90.3km. There are three Rabobank riders involved. A Radioshack rider is onto floor, not moving much. Gesink is in pain. He is grasping his wrist.
They’ve brought an ambulance. Brajkovic is not going to continue. He’s back up. The doctors are examining him. It looks like he has a few scrapes. There’s a gash.
Contador is down further up the road. This happened at 87.7km. Contador looks fine. He throws his bike away and then goes away.
The gap is 4:17. Brajkovic is out. He looks really young, but he’s up and walking. This is only the 2nd rider who abandons.
Contador gives the thumbs up to the camera. He is riding well. They are trying to get to the peloton. Gesink is with the Contador group. The case group is about 1″ behind the peloton. The gap is 3:37. The chase group is at 4:12 now. The chase groups is speeding up quickly. Contador is in the peloton. He gets a shove from his teammate.
At 78.8km, the lead is 2:56. At 77.2km, the lead is 2:31.
Sorenson clipped a motorbike and ended up in the ditch. He’s back up. At 72.9km, the lead is 1:22. At 71.7km, the lead is 47″.
Popovych looks bashed up. He must have crashed. He gets the doctors to look at his elbow. The lead is 34″.
The gap is up to 58″. Kern from Europcar abandons the race. At 64.7km, the lead is 1:10.
At 61km, the lead is back up to 1:44. The peloton must have slacked the pace to allow them to go further away to protect itself from other breakaways.
There is another crash. It’s Rabobank rider and a Saur-Sojasun. Quick-Step is also involved. Boonen is on the ground. All of the Quick-Step riders are involved. He is being examined by doctors. He limps away. Boonen is up. He wants to ride away. They’ve sat him down again.
The lead is 1:28 at 57.2km. Boonen rides away. He looks in pain but he needs to finish the stage if he wants to start tomorrow.
At 53km, the lead is 1:12. Boonen is 3:17 behind. He’s accelerating. Now it says that he’s at 6:01. Either he slowed or we were getting the wrong time. Or it was just another group.
The lead is 1:05. Guiterrez looks frustrated with the escapees.
At 50.4km, the peloton is at 43″. The peloton hasn’t accelerated, so the breakaway has slowed down. The leaders are caught by the peloton at 45.7km. Boonen is at 5:36.
The peloton is accelerating. Boonen has a teammate with him and they are 6:44 from the peloton.
At 32km, there is a breakaway. It’s Tommy Voeckler and Jeremie Roy. They’ve got 20″. Boonen is 7:28 back. At 28km, it’s 40″.
An Euskaltel Euskadi rider crashed on the barrier. He looked out of it.
The lead has 1′ and Boonen is at 7:57.
At 16km, the lead is 1:09. HTC is at the front leading the pace. Boonen is at 8:55.
At 14.4km, the leaders are at 1:05. Boonen is at 10′ behind. It’s not looking good for Boonen. I ran some numbers and if he gets past 15′, he’ll get eliminated.
At 8.9km, the peloton is at 23″. Boonen is 13:04. At 6.8km, the leased is 18″. They will get caught. Boonen is 14′ back.
At 5km, the lead is 14″. Voeckler and Roy are not giving up. At 3.7km, it’s still 14″. Boonen is at 12′. They are about to e caught. Voeckler makes a mob and lets Roy be caught.
Voeckler accelerates away. He’s got about 50m to the peloton. He’s got 5″. Boonen is at 10:45. We’re within 2km. Voeckler is caught. Lampre are leading the sprint. It’s a mix of teams. They are at 1km. HTC is going to the front. Petacchi is locked in. Ben Swift makes a move from Team Sky. Hushovd is there too. They are all together again. Cav wins his first stage. Gilbert finished 2nd, Rojas 3rd.
Boonen finished 13:08 behind.
The standings stay pretty much the same.
Gilbert has the Green Jersey at 120pts. Rojas has 112pts and Evans has 90pts. Evans still has the Polka Dot Jersey at 2pts.