Tour de France - Stage 5 - Tour Carnage Report, unfortunately, continues. Three (at least) crashes in the nervous peloton today. Looked like the hardest crash was Egoi Martinez, who touched the wheel of an Euskatel rider at a traffic island. Egoi just laid in the road, with his hands over his face... The team doc was there instantly, and so was Dirk Demol. The doc got Egoi up, and we next saw him holding on the Tour doc’s car (for quite a while) with a big bandage on his elbow. The crash occurred in the last ten miles, so Egoi finished and looks to me like he is in no danger of abandoning. However, he lost so much time that his craftily earned 5th GC spot will slip way down. (Is craftily a word - oh well, it works for me.) But, sadly, Egoi joins The Velogal Podium To Pavement Classification.
There were a couple more crashes - a Saunier Duval guy hit his brakes hard and went ass-over-teakettle, or rather handlebars, and caused several riders to go down. My guess is that he heard a sound from ahead that sounded like brakes, so he instantly grabbed his. And another large pile-up closer to the finish - riders from several teams, but no obvious injuries.
The sprint finish was a hummer. McEwen and Boonen were expected to fight it out, but McEwen saw he wasn’t in the right spot, so he kinda sat up. His lead-out guy, Steegmans, didn’t move to the right, and that left a gap that Friere instantly jumped into. It was a great opportunistic move, and Friere hauled A, surprising Boonen who was powering on the left. Friere took the stage win with Boonen at second, but Boonen still retaining the Yellow Jersey. Man, these sprints are a Huge Quads Festival - Those Guys Got Legs... Oh, Yeah... Sweet.
The two break-away guys, Dumoulin and Shroder led for almost 200k, and they didn’t look in all that bad shape at the finish, even with those killer cross-winds blowing off the North Sea. Phil and Paul were wondering on OLN if Tom Boonen had ridden his legs away with all the Classics he’s done - they were wondering if he has the form left for a Stage Win...
Discovery Team Channel still leads the Team Classification, (that’s why the fluorescent yellow bib numbers), and that will either change or get reinforced in the Time Trial on Saturday. So you (and the TV commentators) can recognize the DC guys from the helicopter shots.
And, to recognize Floyd Landis, you can no longer look for the little, wicked goatee under the helmet - he’s shaved it off. Gee, I didn’t think it was thick enough for wind resistance.... By the way, the B&W cover shot of Floyd, (maybe I told you already), on Road Magazine was awesome. That is the classiest cycling mag in existence today... Check it out and tell Neil Browne I sent you.
I had the worst time yesterday accessing Mark Shimahara’s images that he sent from France. Earthlink, in it’s paternalistic wisdom, decided the file was too large and dumped it into an Undeliverable Folder in my Web Mail... I had to go thru a worthless 25 minute Live Chat, and then a phone call to a customer service rep in India, which was also worthless. I finally got to a broadband tech support gal, who fixed it for me... I am normally a mellow kinda gal, but I was just a hair away from a temper tantrum by the time it got fixed. Earthlink, let me decide what file is too large, OK? Mark and I can’t be the only photographers in the entire Earthlink network who send large image files....