Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tour Talk Two: into the fire

Well, we've made it to France. But first, Wow, the first four stages were pretty awesome all in all. LOVE LOVE LOVE the UK  stages...I think the Tour organizers really outdid themselves (as did pretty much all of the UK) with that idea. Just finished watching Stage 4...WOW, Froome kisses the pavement just 5k into the stage! And he wasn't even close to being at fault...the 2 guys in front of him off to the left...the guy on the far outside suddenly cut in, bumping the guy on his right and bam.. clipped Froomey's front wheel and that's all she wrote...down in an instant, and pretty hard too. I may not be on the Team Froome bus, but damn, I HATE to see that. Bike racers are tough, but tomorrow's cobbles are a different animal, and to race that hurt is bordering on inhumane. AND...watching the end as the crew was discussing things, it was reported that he went to the hospital for X rays after the stage...both CVV and Bobke explained how you DON'T do that unless you're really afraid there's something wrong, as it seriously cuts into your recovery time. He even skipped his cool-down spin session which is pretty important to clear the legs of the lactic acid built up over the last few hours of racing. And it was a pure shark-media feeding-FRENZY outside the bus, but Brailsford wasn't giving much away as I would expect...tomorrow morning will tell us the story. Looking into my crystal ball, I expect him to start as I'm hoping he doesn't have a broken wrist... but I'm guessing he will be in a great deal of agony over the course of the stage, not even counting the cobbles (much like Tyler Hamilton riding w/ a broken collar bone many years back...it took an AMAZING amount of guts and determination to block the pain somehow...if I recall Tyler said he ground his teeth down to nubs during that tour).

 As to Peter Sagan...never did find out why he was at the back of the cars with only 15 miles left to go...it appeared he might have had a brush w/ the damp pavement, but nobody as yet has affirmed that. He used quite a bit of energy getting to the front...and still was right there at the end. And Kittel looked entirely HUMAN today...if only Cav had been there.... but we'll be saying that the entire race I'm afraid. Marcel is looking to have no real competition for any normal bunch sprint stages I'm afraid. The others just aren't quite there in his league...though in a few years the kid from EuropeCar...Bryan Cocquard I think....I like him...it's his first tour, and there he is, mixing it up w/ the BIG boys. Go Bryan...I wouldn't be surprised at all if he manages to sneak in a win before this tour is over.

As to Stage 5...how do you think Frank Schleck feels? I'm sure he misses Andy in a HUGE way already...and tomorrow....well, it should be one for the Ages. I totally expect Spartacus to step up in the right moment and show us how it's done. Susie, I totally agree about the stupid team colors....Trek is almost invisible, seems they are too close to the Giant Shimano colors...but it just seems that any black and white kit I see is Giant...where is Team Trek hiding at??? At least the phosphorescent kits of Saxo stand out...I'm pretty sure the Space Station crew can peer down and watch and see where the Saxo guys are at, maybe with a set of binoculars but that's about all they'd need! I'm pretty sure if there was a night stage those guys would GLOW.

Oh, and one final thought before I hit the sack (watching le Tour always takes away sleepy time...as I get up SO early every morning)...lets just say for a moment that Froomey IS hurt....WHAT A MISTAKE NOT TO BRING WIGGO!!!!!!!!! Wouldn't THAT be the ultimate "I told you so" from  Sir Bradley! He promised to work for Froome if he went...but they left him out anyway. It could be one of the biggest mistakes a team has ever made if Froome is out. That would be IT for Sky, they might as well pack up all their bags and depart silently in the night.

With that said, and as much as I am NOT a huge fan, I truly hope he's NOT out and IS OK. I really want to see this enormous five-man showdown for the entire duration. It could end up being one of the best Tours in ages if that comes to pass. Any bets as to who is in Yellow tomorrow after Stage 5? I'm betting it WON'T be Nibbles, nor any of the other top contenders. Maybe Fabian??? I can dream!!

Keep the rubber side down everybody, and stay cool and dry out there in the heat of the summer and storms.

Cheers! GAME ON!!


  1. Oh, and Susie...inside the big white 'golf balls' are satellite dishes. Pretty much a world-wide standard on how to protect your dish from the environment. Bigger golf balls = bigger dishes...some of the ones you briefly saw are freaking HUGE (been side a few of those domes). The bigger the dish, the more you need to protect it from the wind and weather (wind will make it shudder/move around, taking it off it's aim point).


    The Tour gods just bit Froome & Team Sky in the ass! And not a nip, but full-blown shark attack. Man, as much as I don't like that team or Froome, you HATE to see a race go like this. Also, I think we can hear "MWHAHAHAHAHAHA" wafting over from England.

    On the other hand, this REALLY opens up the race! Even though Contador seems much stronger than last year, I don't know if he's really back to his dominating, ass-dancing ways.

    Also, whether one blames or hates Lance for DOING WHAT EVERY OTHER STAGE CYCLIST did for most of 2 decades, that he & his team was able to WIN THIS RACE 7 straight times STILL freakin AMAZES ME! Mostly avoiding crashes, sickness, to dominate such an event even TWO years in a row is fantastic, but SEVEN?! No drug or other "performance enhancement" can ensure that. Hopefully, one day when the doping blame game hysteria has dissipated, he will once again get back SOME of the accolades he deserves. He may have been a son of a bitch, but boy, could he ride the Tour de France.

  3. ******SPOILER ALERT!******

    Wow, just carnage today! And that was BEFORE the cobbles! Nibbles was apparently friggin fabulous (haven't been able to see anything yet but 1st hour of race at home & video clips on NBC-SN) but I think he owes a LOT to Thumper (Fulgsang!), who in a "previous life" was a mt biking champ. Maybe Thumper should think about the Classics next year. It seems Contador had a mechanical which led to him losing over 2.5 minutes to Nibbles. OUCH. Our boy Talansky did pretty good & is now in 9th, 2 minutes back. Tejay is not far behind but he was NOT a happy camper immediately after the stage. But heck, he did FAR better than poor Frankie Schleck - finished 8 minutes behind & I don't see any Trekers around him on the Finish List. Ooof - quite a comedown from being one of a team's protected podium hopes. Unfortunately, Haimar didn't do too great either & is now about 4 minutes behind Nibbles. Which means Team Trek is in much worse position than Sky, who has Back-up Richie Porte sitting overall in 8th! Will have to watch tonight to TRY to see if they went down in crashes, were held up by others crashing, or just couldn't keep up.

    Our boy Spartacus gave it a go & battled all the way (despite crashing at least once I think), but finished 5th. Still, with NO team support, that is still damn impressive. I wonder if this stage is the ONLY reason Fabian is riding the Tour this year. No need for him to kill himself on daily stages like back in the CSC days when protecting & shepherding podium guys Andy & Frankie. Hope he stays in the race as this will probably be the last time I'll get to see him this year on TV. Would LOVE for him to try to go in a break. Stage hunting will probably be Trek's M.O. for the remainder.

    You know, even though being down 1-3 minutes is not what an aspiring Tour winner would HOPE for, I DON'T think this race is OVUH! Look what happened to Froome yesterday on a nothing stage! Plus, who knows how Nibbles will be riding in the mountains! Sure, sure, he's won 2 (3?) GTs in the past, but he didn't look stellar in the Dauphine. Of course, pretty much the ONLY guys who have won the Dauphine & the Tour back-back (in the recent past) were FLOYD & Froome, which is partly why I am so unbelieving of the latter. I'm not sure what the time limit is, but from things I've read over the years, these guys canNOT peak for 5-6 weeks straight. Remember the year Levi won the Tour de Susi (Swiss)? If I remember correctly, he had a pretty awful Tour right after that.

    With all the crashing everywhere today, it is AMAZING there were so few abandons! Possibly just Froome! Wonder about the start tomorrow though. Owwwwwwwwwwwwww!

  4. Hey, Barbara! So glad you're watching & here to chat! Yep, we do think alike about much of the Tour, but I, er, LIKE the TV guys guessing the stage winner each day! :) But like last year, they don't do it live anymore, we just see a graphic showing who picked whom. And you're right - so far NBCSN has shown EACH day from the very beginning! I thought maybe that would just be for the stages in England, but it has been true the past 2 days too. I'm thinking the Tour is starting each stage a bit latter in the day this year?

    What do ya'll think about having a cobble stage in the Tour? I'm torn. While I LOVE watching Flanders & Paris-Roubaix, a ONE day race is far, faaaaarrrrr different than a 3 week, 2000 mile death ride around croissant country. You are SUPPOSED to go "into the red" in a one-day race, but if you do that on day 5 in the Tour, you may not even make it TO the mountains let alone excel there. And then when it rains like today? Ooof, the organizers are lucky that a bunch of the GC guys didn't crash out entirely. I'm still thinking, but I think I'd maybe include a cobble stage once every 5 years & then limit the pave to 4-5 sections. What say you?

    Well, it will be interesting to see which GC guys have mentally given up & which ones battle on. I am still convinced that when Lance lost about 2 minutes (?) to Contador back in 2010's cobble stage, he mentally gave up & that's why he crashed in Stage 8/lost huge time which officially ended all podium hope. I'll never forget that day or that stage. It was a Sunday & the 1st in the high mountains. One of the most shocking & saddest sporting days I've ever witnessed. BRAZIL - I felt your pain! ;)

  5. Question (I think about this from time to time) - if Lance had not retired after winning the Tour in 2005, how different do you think things would be in pro cycling today? 1st, Floyd would NOT have won the 2006 Tour, which means he may not have been dope-tested & even if he popped positive, some guy maybe in the Top 10 caught doping would NOT have been such a massive story. He'd probably sat 2 years & come back.

    And let's say Lance won in 2006 & in 2007 & Johan added Alberto to the team in the latter as one of Lance's helpers & groomees for future Tour stardom. AC would have learned from Lance & been ready for 2008 (after Lance did retire).

    Think about it - the past 9 years would have been an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE!

    On the one hand, I am happy to think doping is POSSIBLY becoming a thing of the past in this sport, at least for the majority, but I HATE the way the sport handled ALL of it. From ignoring to condoning to mandating the use (while publicly pretending ignorance) & most of all, the outrageous scapegoating of a few & ignoring the HISTORY of all the other riders & teams going back decades. Indurain? PLEASE, that guy could NOT have gotten his Ichabod Crane ass over a speedbump let alone the Alps & Pyrenees without EPO/blooddoping & he is regarded as a hero in Spain. Riis? Admitted doper & his Tour win not stripped & there he is as a Tour DS today. Same with Ullrich & all the guys that won in 90s & early 2000s (except Lance of course). And then there's team managers - like Lefevere. The guy's been in cycling for decades, do you REALLY think that old hypocrite is CLEAN?

    Ok, just had to get that out. Breathe.

    BTW, did you know Voldermort (GL) is working for British TV during the Tour?

  6. What a day! First, I'll throw my 2 cents worth on your question Susie (do cobbles belong in le Tour)...I say yes. And here's why: cobbles are a part of cycling history going all the way back to the beginning. I mean, sprinters don't like mountains, should they limit the mountains more so sprinters have more of a shot at the GC win? I think not...Nibali just proved that a GC guy can make something special happen on a brutal day...that's what the most well known race in the world SHOULD be looking for. And it wasn't really even the cobbles that did the carnage...it was the rain out on sections of flat pavement! I hate to say it this way, but here goes: I have to ride w/in the limits of MY skills no matter what terrain I hit...if I go above that I am risking a crash. NOBODY makes the guys who don't ride cobbles go so insanely fast....the choose to do that. Otherwise they lose time if they back down. Well, such is life. That's bike racing. It's no more unfair than the sprinters losing time in the mountains cuz they don't have the skills (nor strength). Or one guy able to descend faster than others...such is racing. A Grand Tour is looking for the best of the jack of all trades. Cobbles are surely a part of that.

    OK...I think that was way more than 2 cents...I think it was a full nickels worth. That said, (and keep in mind that even though I'm NOT a Froome fan, I'm sad very he's out and don't like the way it happened), But I have to say that Brailsford got his today. That's the Karma you risk when you leave the guy who won TWO years ago off your Tour squad, even after he promised to work for Froome. Bet he wishes Wiggo was on the Tour team NOW. Sure, they can hand it over to Porte...but he's not going to truly have a shot in my book. I had a feeling last night that Froome wasn't going to get thru the stage even if he started...he hit the deck pretty hard yesterday...and you can have lots of injuries and keep riding, but if you can barely hang onto your handlebar, then your time is limited and you are a danger to not only yourself but all the other riders. Looking at his hand wrapped up this morning, I knew it didn't look good. But it was the rain (and the racers pushing thru near 100 miles in a little over 3 hours) that did the damage. I was sad as I really thought that Fabian would take this stage and give a bit of light to the pathetic Trek team...but alas no. Nibbles was pretty fabulous on his own today...as was his team. Kudos to them, as he was supposed to be 'destroyed' today, losing the yellow by a large margin. NOT. Maybe he's the kind of guy who likes to show people how wrong they are. I loved it! And I'm glad Sagan didn't win it...it appeared to me he was waiting for Fabian to drag him up to the lead group, only taking minor token pulls when Fabian was running out of gas.

    Just wow. WOW. What a stage! Rain AND cobbles. Who would have thought that would happen in the Tour?

  7. Hey, Matt - I was mistaken about the Alps. They don't start this weekend, actually not until NEXT weekend, Fri 7/18. I'd been flipping thru my Tour mag Tues night & saw some of the stage profiles & spotted 3 days with mountains & assumed they were the Alps! They're not. Guess I should have READ what was on the page. ;) ;)

    I'm glad Sagan didn't win either! He's becoming a WHINER! He's killing it in the Green jersey contest & yet he keeps bitching about not winning a stage even though WHO would HELP him in a sprint?! And you're right - he was waiting for Fab to drag him up & Spartacus wouldn't do it so they both lost some time.

    I was SO confused when watching the coverage last night once they hit the cobbles & the peloton broke apart into numerous groups. It would have been hard enough to follow on a sunny day, but with the rain smeared lenses, it was impossible! Anyway, mystified about a couple things. Contador said he had mud in his "sprockets" so couldn't get out of a certain gear & that's what slowed him down. Well, WHY didn't he change bikes with a teammate?! Several were with him at least halfway thru the cobble sections. Have to wonder if it was really the bike. Also, Talanksy gave mucho thanks to his team afterwards, that they'd been so great, but when I saw the coverage, Talansky was completely by himself for the last couple kilometers or so.

    About the cobbles in the Tour - I'm still torn. I don't even remember cobble sections in the 1st 15 Tours I saw on TV. I guess some of the 1984-2000 Tours had cobble sections but since all I was able to view back then was weekend taped coverage, you didn't see much of ANY one stage. Anyhoo, I think 4-5 sections would have been enough. Also, as Fabian said last night - that so many crashes happened on the rain-slicked NON-cobble roads was partly because of the tension about what was to come & partly because those riders are not used to the special bikes/set-ups & tires needed for cobbles. I felt really bad for those guys - like watching COWS ON ICE! And the Tour is really LUCKY that more of the GC guys didn't crash out entirely or even worse.

    1. Hey Susie...I'll add this to the cobble yes-no debate, and it's due to how TJ answered the question posed to him after the carnage stage as he was spinning down: he said something about 'well, the fans got a good show'. OK...who the hell thinks PROFESSIONAL cycling is for? WHO pays the bills? Sure, the sponsors do, but if they don't make a return on their investment, they won't do it. That returns comes from, yes, the fans. Pro level cycling IS for the fans...this isn't amateur cycling where it's all about the riders. HE rides for us, as do ALL the rest of them. Pro cycling is entertainment, just like football (both US and world styles), basketball, etc etc. And then how did Talansky answer the same question? He was stoked...thought it was an epic stage, you could see he loved it and was honored to have been involved. To me THAT is the big diff between Talansky and TJ...(and why I'm NOT a TJ fan). TJ thinks it's all about him.

      Another opinion I saw (well, many many) on Velo News this morning...they asked if cobbles belong in the Tour and a great many pro's threw their 2 cents in...but it was Robbie McEwen who answered (and I'm doing this from memory) that yesterdays stage was the most exciting race he's ever seen. I agree...I LOVED it! I'm sad for the crashes, but MOST were due to the rain, not the cobbles. If your team and bike weren't properly prepared for rain and cobbles, then shame on you...everybody knew it was coming. Slow down...nobody is making you roar thru the roundabouts. Welcome to PRO cycling at it's finest! Bringing a little bit ofthe classics style cycling to le Tour...I'd welcome 2 stages of cobbles. I personally think cobble stages in a Grand Tour are akin to mountain stages, sprint stages, and TT stages...each one favors different types of riders, and the rest try to survive.

  8. Hey Matt - yeah, you're right, PRO cycling is for the fans, but does one need to see someone DIE or just seriously injured to be entertained? A Grand Tour demands so much from a rider & a team - LUCK, strong team, GC guy in peak form, no sickness or bad injuries for the duration, LUCK, skill & ability in both Time Trials AND mountains, endurance, mental toughness, leadership if you're the GC head, knowledge of how to pace yourself thru the 3 weeks, and once again, LUCK. Does it really need a cobble section? There are no mountains in Paris-Roubaix.

    As I said, I'm still not 100% decided, but I know I would have enjoyed yesterday MUCH more if not chewing thru my hand with worry even after I KNEW the overall result (!) AND if I could have actually SEEN the FOOTAGE & tell what was happening & to whom! I just HATE the damn rain in the Tour! Also, what if someone had died yesterday? With all those crashes & the narrow & rough surfaces of the cobble sections, that definitely could have happened.

    Anyway, there was more rain today & even more crashes. Of course, with over 41 guys hitting the floor yesterday, the peloton is literally the rolling wounded. I'd imagine reflexes are not at their best. You know, we say this EVERY year, but the 1st week is insane. War of attrition. Plus, I've long thought they should cap the TDF teams at 20 max. 18-19 would be better. And if not a true top-level team with experienced top guys, the team does NOT get selected, French or not! Those guys cause many of the crashes. Narrow, twisty roads, ever increasing road "furniture", 198-200 guys all jockeying for space AND to "be up front", desperate need to show what you & or your team can do so you have a JOB/team next year, you don't even need the rain for chaos to ensue.

    BTW, Andy's knee injury sounds really bad. Had surgery. I assume his season is over. Do you think his cycling career is too? I hope not, I want to see him compete for the Tour podium at least a few more times. He needs to do a 'life version' of that mt stage in the 2011 Tour - when he was far behind Cadel & looked completely out of it & he goes off in the break almost at the gun I think on one of the last mt stages. The peloton let him go because everyone thought he was crazy & had no chance. That stage was AWESOME! He clawed his way onto the podium & into 2nd! And if he'd been a better time trialer, he could have won that year. That was one of the most amazing Tour stages ever. THAT guy has to still be in him!

    And poor Cav. Separated shoulder & ripped tendons. OUCH! Also had surgery. He'd been looking SUPER skinny too. Maybe too skinny, maybe that's why he's not quite as powerful. Any thoughts? I guess the light weight helps him over the mountains, but I think maybe it's sapped a bit of his power too. When he was a bit chubby (well, for a cyclist), he was unbeatable. Or maybe it's just age. When sprinter's legs go, their sprinting prowess seems to go with them. If they can't change their skill to fit another team need (like Stuey did & now seemingly Bennati) they become just sprint-pack fodder or out of cycling completely). Remember when Robbie McEwen darted thru chaos everywhere & snatched wins with no trains & racked up several TDF Green jersies? And then 1 year, boom, nowhere near crossing the line 1st. Man, I hope Cav still has at least 2-3 more years in him!

  9. Hey Susie...I hear ya, but I like the cobbles (besides, it was the rain not the cobbles that did most of the damage, same as today). Cobbles are just such a part of cycling history...and who says that the mountain-goat/TT'ers should always be the champions? MAYBE they should change the format huge every year...one year has 5 TT's, next year has 5 cobble sections, next year has a ton of sprints, next year tons of mts...let EVERYBODY have their shot at a TDF GC win. Cycling has gotten so specialized this last decade or so.....to the point that everybody freaks out if some cobbles are thrown into a Tour. Did the Cannibal blink at Cobbles? Hinault? I very much doubt it. And go back even further when some of the guys rode ALL THREE Grand Tours. Not much of that these days. Equipment is better/lighter...imagine the cobbles 30 years or more ago....the bikes/tires are SO much better now. But they did it. And champions were made and remembered.

  10. First off, WELCOME BACK BARBARA!! So sorry..meant to say that yesterday..hope things are good for you...it's been a while!

    As to Stage 6, what a snoozer overall. Well, it's not that bad I guess...flat stages are just that way. The one thing I was rather surprised at was the total absense of Team Giant Shimano and Kittle at the end...they were looking great and poised to deliver Kittel to another slam-dunk...and suddenly they were gone. Nothing at all against Kittel, but I'm kind of glad...was thinking he would win every sprint stage this year w/out Cav's presence. Good for Griepel and his team! And my thoughts on Kittel and his entire team falling apart at the end is that it makes me think they MUST be riding clean...they are human after all and after all the work they've done so far, they all just ran out of gas. Sagan was there but couldn't seal the deal. He looks like an entirely different animal than a few years ago when he took the world by storm. Also nice to see Renshaw right in there, hope he and his team are able to pull off a win or 2 before it's over. Had a few more crashes yesterday from the rain, and Contador lost his main man...that's not good. Anyway, we'll see what today's route brings...it's obviously another flat stage. Yes, Stage SEVEN is today! (meaning we're already a week in...it's going pretty quickly all of a sudden).

  11. Sorry, I couldn't get here sooner but I very bummed today. Even MORE than when Cav AND Andy crashed out of the Tour. As you may remember, I became a BIG fan of LeBron, beginning Dec 2011 & consequently became a fan of the Heat. The last 3 years had been a great ride (well, except for the final 3 FINALS games this year, of which I have STILL not recovered nor understand what the hell happened). I expected LBJ to stay with the Heat & Bosh/Wade for at least 2-3 more years & maybe THEN go back to Cleveland. CLEVELAND! God HATES Cleveland! *I* HATE Cleveland! I will always adore watching LBJ play & think he is one of the 2 BEST of all time, but this action is just stunning & the amount of media that 1) covered the past 10 days like waiting for the damn smoke to alert us to a new Pope was NAUSEATING & 2) fail to see that this is the most blatant & audacious POWER PLAY in sports is even worse! If I have to see one more headline/tweet about "redemption", I will HURL. It is blaringly obvious to me that LeBron AND his home town flunkies wanted more POWER & could not get that in Miami, so off they go back to their home town area, where his power will now be ABSOLUTE.


    Plus, he no longer believes he can actually match MJ's 6 championships. You saw it on his face when the Spurs humiliated the Heat for the 3rd straight time last month in clinching THEIR 5th championship. He finally realized he CAN'T do it by himself, so he's no longer even going to try. Instead of making the Heat a BIT stronger & try again, he's going home to PERENNIAL LOSER Cleveland, who have made NOT ONE RIGHT MOVE the past 4 years & their team/organization nothing but a dysfunctional mess, so he now has a built in excuse why he may not even win 1 more, let alone 2-4.

    I am SO very disappointed. I wanted to actually watch him WIN 3-5 more rings! This will NEVER happen with the Cavaliers. He could have knocked Michael off the throne, instead, the once-but-not-future King has abdicated. :(

    Alrighty. I plan to come in tomorrow to do some work & I'll go back to Tour talk! Promise! :)

  12. No worries Sooz...I'm not much of a BB fan (but my dad is...he played and then coached in college...and he's apparently in the "Sheridan College Hall of Fame" (for coaching at the Junior college)....I only found out about this a year or 2 ago...stuff you never knew about your parents! Anyway...he LOVES BB! I recall we saw him play in college...I was stationed in Hawaii, and they have a big BB tourney out there every holiday season, and my folks were visiting and we watched a bunch of games in person...I had never heard of Lebron, but Dad knew who he was...said he could be one of the greatest pro's ever, way back then.

    ANYWAY.....back to le Tour...what a CRAZY stage 7! I think CVV said it best, something about '3 of his top 5 GC guy picks on the deck in the last 15k of ONE single stage!' TJ got jammed from behind (literally didn't know what hit him), Andrew had Gerrans take his front wheel out when he was making a crazy left to right lane-shift for his sprint (I know Bobke and CVV were hesitant to say who'se fault that was...but I'll say it...Simon DOES owe Andrew an apology (apparently as soon as he got to the team bus and got off his bike, he said "HE OWES ME AN APOLOGY" to JV), much like Cav owed Simon one...you're supposed to stay in your lane...he CLEARLY didn't....and totally half-wheeled Andrew who also never knew what hit him. Looks like the big winners of Stage 7 were Contador and Nibali..both unscathed and looking really good. At least that's my 2 cents worth...I wouldn't be surprised if Simon was regulated or something (even though Andrew wasn't sprinting for a place, he was just trying to get out of harms way). But an apology would be good...I'm just sayin. Thank goodness he doesn't appear to be hurt. Look at poor Froomey...he also got taken out (never did find out who the guy on the outside who swooped in and hit the next guy who took out Froome was, nor if HE gave an apology for his action). The crashes in the rain were just pouring hot water on an already scalded racer...the real damage was his wrist and then in a cold and wet stage to hit the deck hard twice more was all he could bear. It was really looking like a Tour for the ages, with all the potential GC guys...but most of them are hurt to some degree in this insane 1st week (and SEE! Still happens WITHOUT the cobbles! Today was BONE DRY!)

    Anyway, tomorrow brings the first test for the GC guys...3 climbs at the end of the stage...two cat-2's and a finishing cat-3...

    OH, and I felt sorry for Sagan today...he lost that sprint by a nose-hair! After all the work he did...was wondering when he made the break-away so close to the finish...I thought he should just hold his position and mark any flyers...as he WOULD have been the strongest in any kind of a bunch sprint by far...but hewiped himself out, and EVEN SO, had the finish line been even a FOOT further he would have won it, as he was still accelerating...but he pretty much owns the Green Jersey though...

    Not too bad a day for a 'flat' stage. ON TO STAGE 8! We are now 1/3rd of the way thru this years Tour! (sigh..it goes SO fast!)

    Game ON!