Thursday, July 09, 2009

Stage 6: Gérone - Barcelone 181.5km

With the way the GC is going, today's stage was a nice break from the drama that comes with the yellow jersey. Of course, it wasn't a relaxed stage. Instead, it was weather drama that turned into disaster, though not as bad as it could have been. The stage started out decently enough with a breakaway I could totally support (yeah, who saw that coming? everyone). Sylvain decided it was a day to be in the break, which really exited me. And up until the break was caught, I held out hope that he'd win. Granted, it was a bit of a stretch, but hey, a girl can dream.

The break established itself well, with three, then four riders. David Millar, along with Chavanel the future KOM leader, Auge and Spanish cyclist Amets Txurruka. They worked extremely hard in their break, but as breaks tend to be, they weren't meant to last. But they gave it the best try possible. It was heart breaking, at least for me, to watch Sylvain and Auge get swallowed up by the peloton. But at least I knew Sylvain would finish reasonably well.

The break wasn't the only drama, and I know I'm leaving out Millar, but don't worry, I'll get to him soon enough. There were crashes. Oh boy were their crashes. They weren't life or career ending crashes, but there were enough of them in a short enough period of time that it was rather stressful (more than usual). The ones that really stressed me were the one where Haussler (who y'all know I adore) went down (I found out later he fell twice which, GAH, not what I wanted to hear, poor kid). At first the Eurosport commentators thought it was Thor, and even though I like him, I'd rather it be Thor than Haussler. Sadly, that was not the case. He went down hard twice, but turned out okay in the end. Mick Rogers also went down hard and we spent much of the stage wondering if he'd even finish. Luckily he did, and later posted on twitter that he'd start stage seven and had no broken bones (thank god).

Then, in the huge crash (I think this is the one that took Haussler out for a second time), Tom Boonen went down. Like, who expects that kind of thing? It was high drama and made the stage chaotic. The weather was shit, though it didn't seem like it was pouring, or even raining that hard, but it was doing something just enough to make life extremely hard for the sprinters and they suffered for it. The best and worst part of the was David Millar. If Sylvain wasn't going to win from the break, I desperately wanted Millar to win. I've liked him, both before and after his confession and I want him to do well. I was screaming at the TV, trying to will him to a stage win and was quite unhappy when he just couldn't hold on. In his post-stage interview, Millar did say that he hadn't even expected to be there, so he wasn't disappointed, which is really good for him, but at the same time. Damn, did it suck to watch him almost win.

Of course, the sprint for the finish was quite interested. Cav was no where to be seen, I don't know if that was Columbia's ploy, or if he was suffering through the mountains or they were just making someone else work, but whatever happened, it made the sprint interested. The winner, who came from being boxed it to drive past Oscar Freire for the win was Thor Hushovd, who I also like (though not as much as some). I like him enough to thoroughly enjoy the win, especially the way he powered past everyone else -- from behind!

Tomorrow are the mountains and I won't be watching that stage live, but it should be interesting. I'll miss the sprints, and mountains can be exciting, but today proved that sprint (flat-ish) stages can be pretty damn exciting, too.

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