I will admit to not paying that much attention to the actual cycling bits of this stage, before the end. I was doing about a million other things and the commentary on Eurosport was far more interesting than the race itself. That, of course, isn't a surprise because it was a moderately flat stage. Apparently before the race coverage was on tv, Brad Wiggins fell ... in the first few kms of the stage. That sound you hear is my laughing, if only because he's mostly okay. And, you know, I don't like him. But anyway, onto the stage itself. The scenery was nice, there were sunflowers and it was the first time I properly followed the stage on my new cycling twitter. It was pretty fun, and until the end, pretty low stress.
The sprint was almost awesome. I will say that I've really grown to dislike lead out trains. I used to adore them. They were exciting and usually they were working hard for a rider I liked. I believe it was Petacchi who had one of the best lead outs, ages ago. Except ... now I hate them. Not in the way I hate a lot of other things in sports, but enough that they drive me nuts. I like it when the lead out trains get all fucked up or run out of gas or a cyclist from another team gets in their way. Something similar to that happened yesterday and I was hoping that it would happen again today. Unfortunately, Columbia did everything right, much to my chagrin.
You see, I have a grudge against Mark Cavendish. I'm tired of his petulant behavior on the bike and his ego and bad attitude off the bike. I know, he's a sprinter and they're like that. But I have to say that Cav takes it about three steps too far. And so yesterday when he got screwed in the sprint, it was a joy to watch (and extremely amusing to hear about his tantrum). Today I was hoping for something similar, or at least just as interesting. Instead the Columbia train sorted themselves out, boxed all the other sprinters out and then led Cav to the win. Much to my irritation, but the joy of, like, everyone else in the world. This always seems to happen to me, damn it.
The other reason it really bugs me is because it proves, to me at least, that the sport itself, and this race (and peloton) in particular, rewards people who whine and complain. There's no punishment for Cav for throwing his bike like a little child. There's no punishment for Thor for talking shit about his fellow sprinters (though that's the least of my issues with sprinters) and there's absolutely no punishment for Cancellara's behavior on stage two. In other words, if you bitch and whine and moan, everything goes your way -- just like in football (soccer) and I hate it there, just as much. Of course it's not like anyone could do anything about it (except for, hello, fining people and so on), because I seem to be the only one who cares.
Anyway, moving on. Cav won the stage, but he probably won't the green jersey, thank god. Thor has 102 and Petacchi is next closed with 88. In other words, it's not contest which is pretty depressing. Hopefully the yellow jersey will start to heat up and people will start to fuck with each and we can all have a good time again (until someone I hate is in yellow).
Tomorrow's stage looks a bit like today's. Flattish, with a few tiny hills toward the end. Maybe it'll be the day another breakaway survives. It was pretty sad to watch today's vanish, but that's the way this sport goes. Hopefully I'll have more to say tomorrow! And I really hope someone else wins tomorrow's stage.