There's something about flat stages that I just can't quite explain. Of course it wasn't a completely flat stage and that meant that the sprinters might not have their way at the end of the stage. I'd have liked to see Chavanel (of course) in a breakaway, but his attempt (I believe that's what it was -- there wasn't a lot of coverage, he could have just been working on the front of the peloton) didn't succeed.
There was a breakaway though, and unlike most breakaways, this one worked together (excluding the Rabobank rider) for the most part. The peloton was in no mood to chase and so it was up to the breakaway to take care of business, as it were. And they did. It was a good day for the French, coming in first and second on the stage. And, as I said to a friend of mine, with Jens Voigt, Sandy Casar, and eventual stage winner Cédric Vasseur in the breakaway, it was like an old school (old school for us at least) breakaway. Vasseur just barely beat Casar to the line -- and I was yelling hard for Casar.
The best part of the day, at least for me, was that Sylvain Chavanel's brother, Sébastien Chavanel, beat out every other sprinter to take 12th place and the 14 points that come with it. That puts him in fifth place in the points classification with 108 points. Boonen, of course, leads it with 160. While I don't know if Seb could take the green jersey, I'd love to see him win a stage. Same with Sylvain of course.
Nothing much changed over the stage, the four jerseys remain the the same. Which was to be expected, of course. Sadly, the main story of the day was about German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz, formerly of T-Mobile who tested positive for testosterone. He'd had to quit the Tour the previous day due to a crash and here he was, in the hospital and now suspended by his team. We'll wait to see what happens, but this is the last thing that the team and the sport needed.
But tomorrow is another day and there will always be dopers. This is just part of the sport. At least for now.