Monday, July 04, 2005
(all photos from yahoo)
As with many stages of the tour, past and present, today's involved a break. It was almost a significant break overall, but in the end it was caught. What made this break so special for the French (as well as fans from last year) was the very impressive tactical racing by Thomas Voeckler (remember him?). The former French road race champ did a good job keeping with his four breakaway companions. And, as the catch was about to happen, the three (they'd lost one along the way) attempted to sprint for the first king of the mountain points. It looked like Spain's David Canada would ride away with the first prize and the polka dot jersey, but that was not the case. Instead, Thomas Voeckler (as if hearing the words that either Phil or Paul uttered) caught up with Canada, rode into his slip stream and rested for a few seconds, then roared past him. He all but flew up the small hill/thing and captured the first KOM jersey. It was spectacular, especially since his team is from the Vendee area.
But that was not the only excitement for the second day. Once again Phil picked the correct winner of the stage. Though for much of the final few kms after the catch of the break, it looked like Baden Cooke might have a good go of things. Phil Gilbert and Sandy Casar spent a lot of good riding on the front. There were a few attacks, but I felt confident that FDJ could weather them. Well, I was wrong. With Petacchi, there is an absence of the silver train, but several other teams have taken over that role. A few include Quick Step, FDJ and Liquigas. In the end, though, it was Robbie McEwen's tactics that caused Tom Boonen to have the perfect lead out. Robbie, as always, emerged from no where and attacked. But Boonen was hot on his heels and there was no stopping him, even though Thor was a very close second (and, actually, I found his move to be the most impressive. Had he moved a bit sooner, he might have overtaken both Robbie and Tom).
In the end, though, it was Tom's 12 win on the season. It was exciting to watch and, thankfully, there weren't any overly serious crashes near the finish. Most of the stage was break and chasing, no big moves on the GC. Although Ullrich lost more time to Armstrong and others. But things are looking good for Zabriskie, who managed to stay in the yellow jersey for yet another day.
No drastic changes were made in the overall GC. Lance is still two seconds down from Dave. Fabian Cancellara remained the best young rider and, of course, Boonen took over the green jersey. And, well, due to lack of sleep and lack of much to say about the stage, here are a few pictures.
Tomorrow is another sprinter's day. I'm sure that I'll enjoy it, as I love an exciting finish. Maybe Baden'll be able to win a stage this year. Perhaps tomorrow is his day.
Posted by jag at 12:20 AM