Monday, July 9, 2007

Mon, Jul 9: TdF Stage 2

After two days of racing in Britain, the riders are in France and Belgium today, riding Stage 2 between Dunkirk (France) and Ghent (Belgium). The breakaway group , consisting of Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel), Cédric Hervé (Agritubel) and Marcel Sieberg (Milram), is being chased by the peloton, currently less than 2 minutes behind, after the lead was already 6 minutes at some point. Rain is falling hard.

17.5km to go, the gap is down to 1:35.

5:03pm TdF time, the gap is less than 44 seconds now, with 10km to go. The rain eased off.

Astana at the front, 8.5km to go. 29s gap at 8km to go. Peloton strung out single-line.

Large crowds next to the road, under 5k to go. The gap is 12s now. The breakaway is done pulling.

Liquigas pushing at the front, 3km to go. The breakaway is being swallowed by the peloton.

Big Crash! Cancellara, the yellow jersey is down, within 3km to go.

Who wins? Boonen? Where is McEwen ? Quickstep wins: Steegmans first, Boonen is second.

Cancellara doesn't look good, his left arm is hurt.

Provisional results:

1 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep
3 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas
4 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
5 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
7 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
8 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
9 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
10 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des Jeux

Update: Cancellara is ok. The TdF Blog lists a bunch of riders that were injured in the crash. After yesterday's quarrel with a commissaire, Mark Cavendish had his second bad day in a row. There were reports that a Milram rider caused the crash, and there was only one rider in the top 20 that avoided the pileup: Erik Zabel. CN meanwhile confirmed my suspicion:

The crash in the final two kilometres held up an estimated thirty riders and most were left watching the sprint on the big monitor mounted just behind. Reviewing the crash, it was in fact Zabel who touched his front wheel with Boonen's rear wheel. Both riders stayed up right but a chain-reaction followed when a Liquigas rider fell to his right, taking down a T-Mobile rider and two Lampres.

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