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Stage 1

Strangely, after the prerace show, Versus' covergae of the race jumped to about 30km into the race, so I missed the breakaway by David Millar and four other riders, Stéphane Augé, Freddy Bichot, Alexandre Kuschynski and Andrey Grivko. There was an early accident that dropped one rider, Eduardo Gonzalez, out of the Tour completely. Millar's breakaway group stayed out front for most of the race, building up a maximum lead of about six minutes. Millar also claimed the first two sprints and the first King of the Mountain, Bichot took the second KotM. About halfway through the race there was a small accident when a rider bumped into the center divider and three riders went down. None of them were seriously injured and they were back on there bikes pretty quickly.

Soon after the peloton started reeling in the breakaway pack but there was another accident that had at least five cyclists off their bikes, changing wheels, including a couple of the sprinters who were vying for the win, Robbie McEwan and Mark Cavendish. Levi Leipheimer also got a flat but was pulled back to the peloton by his domestiques. With the crash, the final remaining member or the breakaway, Augé, got some respite and built back up some buffer time from the peloton and managed to take the final KotM. He was followed by Millar who had jumped to the front of the peloton and was second over the line, giving him enough points to claim the first polka dot jersey, which he'll wear for at least the next two stages. Cavendish and McEwan were still struggling at the back to get into the peloton as the group nears the finish line. A few minutes later, with the finish line in sight, the sprinters are up in front, starting to turn on the gas when all of a sudden McEwan pops out like he has turbo boosters on his bike and sweeps by the field, winning the race! Wow, what an amazing finish by Robbie McEwan! I don't know where he came from. One minute he was in the back of the pack and the next he was up front. I could not believe how fast this guy was going, especially after his crash and what is hopefully a minor wrist/hand injury. An awesome recovery and a truly superhuman sprint and well earned win.

So McEwan takes the green jersey for points, Millar wear the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey and Cancellara holds onto the maillot jaune for another day. Team Discovery Channel is still hanging in there, taking it easy until they get to the mountains where they will be doing some serious work to move Levi up in the standings.

Props to the winners and also to Bichot, who made a great showing for a rookie and Augé, who really persevered up front, all by himself, for quite a while.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
zyzzyva23
Jul. 9th, 2007 06:44 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure McEwan is a cyborg.
democritus
Jul. 9th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Seriously, that was insane.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )