Monday, July 10, 2006

Stage 8 - Sunday, July 9: Saint-Méen-le-Grand - Lorient, 181 km

I am behind a day. Real life and the World Cup got in the way. No, I wasn't rooting for Italy. Yes, I still love Zidane. And yes, I am ready for the EPL and CL. Moving on.

Sunday's stage was yet another flat stage. But unlike previous stages, there was something special out the break. And that something special was Sylvain Calzati. He went off the front of the break and somehow managed to stay away. It was pretty amazing. I was also impressed with the fact that he managed to go off the front, keep the two chasers from catching him -- and finish over two minutes ahead of the peloton.

In a tour that's been anything but normal, this stage fit right in. It was the first flat stage to have a breakaway actually work. And it was just awesome that Calzati did it alone. It's too bad that the French football team couldn't back him up.

There were also two chasers who fought it out for second and third place. They were almost caught by the peloton, only 10 seconds separated them. Finland's Kjell Carlström and France's Patrice Halgand did a really good job of keeping ahead of the peloton, but no matter how hard they tired, they just could not catch Calzati.

Other than the break, nothing much happened. The yellow remains on the Gonchar's shoulders. McEwen is still in green (much to the dismay of Tom Boonen) and there were also no changes in the King of the Mountains or the young rider. Of course, come Wednesday, all of this might change. But before then we have a rest day (Monday) and another flat stage (Tuesday). I hope, though, that we'll get another break that lasts.

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