Thursday, July 08, 2004

Stage Two - Day Three

Another long stage. More Matt, mostly up helping Baden (I think). I am curious as to where he ended up (EDIT: 15th). I was wrong about yesterday, apparently Nick Gates finished five minutes behind the time cut and couldn't start today (due to a crash, as well). So Brad and Matt weren't completely last. And it seems I am confused with the number of riders, someone just said the peloton has shrunk to 178 riders (EDIT: Not true. The day started with 187 and ended with 186 as Gian Matteo Fagnini of Dominia didn't finish).

Today was surprisingly crash-filled. That poor broken Dominia rider (see edit above). And then, right in the middle of the final sprint, Jimmy Casper (Cofidis) and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) had such a painful crash. I'm happy that both of them finished. Hopefully they'll both start tomorrow.

What impressed me the most (besides watching April's Seb Lang (Gerolsteiner) pushing in the break) was Thor and the CA team. He crashed and still managed to get up to the front to get just enough time bonus in the sprint to take both the green and yellow jerseys. He looked so happy and he should be. I totally didn't think he'd make it. Speaking of the sprint, I (unlike Paul and Phil) predicted Petacchi for the stage. And it almost happened, but those CA boys just pushed up there. And then Robbie, coming out of nowhere to win. Impressive, even if I kept shouting for Baden. One of these days I am ready for Baden in green.

What I want to know, though, is what's up with Brad. I'll just have to wait about 16 hours, less if I'm lucky. Then I'll probably write about it (EDIT: It took longer for me to find out about his back, as most of the articles I read and the commentators didn't know until Wednesday).

I've mentioned it before, but I can't explain how much it surprised me. The large number of crashes in the stage. No one on OLN really addressed it, so these are just my wild guesses (side note: I think I just saw Matt in the rerun. Sad that he is the easiest to spot. Matt and Thor (and later, Thomas Voeckler) actually). I believe that the good weather caused some of the crashes: overconfident riders. And because of that, some nervousness.

One more complaint about OLN (a common theme, I think). Not enough updates on the speed of the peloton and breakaways. Lots of time distances, names (in breaks) and kms to go, though. Oh well, I'll be home soon enough for my "full" coverage.

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