DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images
After the late crash on Stage 2 many racers were staying up late tending to wounds. After such a long stage and late night many of the racers felt a bit lethargic. You know the feeling you wake up sore and just don’t have the same intensity. Most of the peloton felt this way and was more than content to let a French duo go for a long breakaway while the rest of the racers took a “working vacation” day. Sometimes going slow on a bike is not too much fun especially when you end up riding for seven hours. The lethargy turned into a grueling march into Compeigne. Whether the group is riding fast or slow, it is still painful.
More painful was the heartbreaking finish for the lead four Frederik Willems, Matthieu Ladagnous, Stephane Auge, and Freddy Bichot who were working hard in the break only to watch the pack swoop by in the final few hundred meters. If they just kept it together a little longer….
AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
Erik Zabel must be high on spilling the beans. After his painful admission to using EPO in the 90s, Zabel now admits to causing the crash in stage 2 that took out all but 25 racers going into the finish. The dicey crash through a narrow road cut off most of the peloton and looked worse that it actually was. The only casualty from the race was Discovery Channel’s Tomas Vaitkus who needed thumb surgery. The pictures of racers limping home holding their arms was striking. But once everyone was cleaned up and bandaged no one was that badly off.
Zabel must want a totally free conscience and seems ready to give up information on just about anything. Zabel admitted to shifting quickly into the path of Liquigas racer Manual Quinzato. The touch of wheels cause the mass pile up.
In the team dinner last night Zabel also admitted to eating the last baguette and not offering it to anyone before chomping on it. Roommate Andrey Grivko confronted Zabel on the empty roll of toilet paper in the bathroom to which Zabel quickly spilled the beans and admitted he forgot to change it before he left.
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Tom Boonen was the name on everyone’s lips of potential winners as the Tour hit Belgium. Boonen managed to escape a crash and had most of his team still in tact driving a sprint train to the finish. The timing was all set except for the last leadout man Geert Steegmans who was told not to sprint until the final 200 meters because of the uphill nature of the finish. The last second sprint was too much for Boonen to come around giving the domestique a rare moment to shine. Quick Step can take solace in a One-Two home soil victory. Boonen seemed just as happy for Steegman’s win as Steegman’s himself. So Quick Step should not mind too much of the last secong blunder. For a few moments it looked as if the Yellow Jersey might be up for grabs as a crash on narrow road looked to have injured several racers and held back most of the peloton. However, the whole group was marked as finishing at the same time since the last kilometer rule was used.
One by one racers limped into the finish with Alexandre Vinokourov signing the cross on himself thanking the man upstairs for saving him from getting injured. Not that God cares more about a Tour victory or Super Bowl Touchdown or any of those things. Vino is happy that he escaped one dangerous moment unscathed. In the first week of the Tour you take each day as it comes and try to stay away from crashes and try not to lose any time before you hit the mountains.
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
The Tour de France’s English jaunt has come to an end after a very successful prologue and stage one. The prologue through London brought out great weather and huge crowds who lined up along some of London’s biggest monuments to take in a bike race. Fabian Cancellara took the win by burning up the course in under 9 minutes for a five mile time trial. The course was not super fast with “chip and seal” type pavement, lots of “traffic furniture” remnants which required racers to bunny hop their bikes at certain points.
Here is the full list of racers for the 2007 Tour de France. The race icks off Saturday in London with a very picturesque prologue. Homeboys and TT specialists David Millar and Bradley Wiggins will be gunning for the prologue stage win.
As for an overall winner, stay tuned for my prediction on this year’s Tour
11. Oscar Pereiro (ESP)
12. David Arroyo (ESP)
13. Vicente Garcia Acosta (ESP)
14. José Ivan Gutierrez (ESP)
15. Vladimir Karpets (RUS)
16. Francisco Perez (ESP)
17. Nicolas Portal (FRA)
18. Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
19. Xabier Zandio (ESP)
21. Michael Rogers (AUS)
22. Marcus Burghardt (GER)
23. Mark Cavendish (GBR)
24. Bernhard Eisel (AUT)
25. Linus Gerdemann (GER)
26. Bert Grabsch (GER)
27. Kim Kirchen (LUX)
28. Axel Merckx (BEL)
29. Patrick Sinkewitz (GER)
31. Carlos Sastre (ESP)
32. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (NOR)
33. Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
34. Inigo Cuesta (ESP)
35. Stuart O’Grady (AUS)
36. Frank Schleck (LUX)
37. Christian Vandevelde (USA)
38. Jens Voigt (GER)
39. David Zabriskie (USA)
Musician Franck Lascombes has a video singing the praises of EPO. The video apparently is a big hit on Dailymotion.com.
(photo from ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
No Ale-Jet putting on the afterburners in the sprint stages this year. The high levels of Salbutamol
during the Giro caused a non-negative test result. Milram suspended Petacchi pending the outcome of the case. Today Ettore Torri a CONI anti-doping prosecutor recommended to a one year ban for Petacchi to the Italian Cycling Fedaration.
This ruling has cost Petacchi his place in the Tour and possibly at next years Giro and Tour also depending on when the suspension is set to begin and of the Pro Tour code of ethics is attached to this punishment. That would mean that Petacchi could not race in ProTour events for two years after his one year suspension is finished.
Thanks to a request from Bob of Big Horn Velo I made up some Simpsons likenesses of the Versus crew. Phil, Paul, Al, Bob Roll and Robbie Ventura too.
The Simpsons Movie site just released a way to make avatars of yourself. I found a better use for it and that is to make avatars of some of the top Tour de France contenders. I am also including other notable cycling related folks to spice it up.
Here is the list:
via Kottke.org…A Wall Street Journal article about athletes who work hard at winning trophies. They don’t train hard running or biking, but searching online and gauging the competition. ASome athletes are going to smaller lesser known races to win a trophy. They carpetbag the smaller events in order to win. Watching where your competitors go like Lance used to monitor Jan Ullrich’s moves is a key component to training for the weekend warrior.
I have not gotten that desperate yet, but viewing my results on the USA Cycling site shows that maybe I should scout out smaller races with easier competitors to pad my palmares. Maybe I could tackle the Syracuse Kids Race next year. Those tots won’t know what’s coming when I swoop in an take the win. Don’t go crying to your mommy when I hoist the ribbon…oh, sorry I forgot everyone gets a ribbon at the kids race. Damn.
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