Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The morning after the night before...

The thrills and spills of yesterdays stage ended in a go slow neutralised finish protest and a third of the Argyl Armada carted off to the local x-ray department. Internet speculation and rumors flourished, as everyone waited for the official word from the team. Meanwhile Thor Hushovd vocalised his disatisfaction with how senior riders, including Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara who had sacrificed his yellow jersey, organised tempo riding to allow Frank and Andy Schleck and others to regroup with the main peloton following the series of crashes.

Late in the night, word came that Christian Vande Velde, team captain of Garmin-Transitions, had suffered broken ribs in two crashes on the Stockeu, the second of which saw him land in a ditch, had been forced to abandon his tour. Team mates Tyler Farrar and Julian Dean vowed to continue despite the former having suffered a broken wrist and earlier announcements suggesting he may be forced to abandon also.

Controversy remained palatable as the teams prepared for Stage 3 and the 7 sections of Pave that awaited them, with many agreeing with Hushovd that crashing was all part and parcel of road racing. Hushovd was clearly angered that Cavendish had in affect benefited from his misfortune as with Hushovd unable to claim points in a sprint finish, Cavendish was now back in contention for the mailot vert.

Overnight the current wearer of the coverted jersey and the race leaders jersey, stage 2 winner and "most combatative rider", Chauvenel of Quickstep, was rewarded with a custom sprayed new bike to start stage 3 with. Sprayed yellow down one side and green down the other, the Eddie Mercx bike is sure to grab the attention of spectators as the peloton travels along the roads of the one day classic, the Paris-Roubaix.

With descent in the ranks yesterday and pave today, the race organisers were forced to defend their decision to choose such challenging routes in a race they stated from the beginning was designed to shake up the GC from day one. While a go-slow had been organised to protest the inclusion of the Stockeu, which the likes of Robbie Hunter had tweeted should never have been considered as suitable for the Tour, it is sure to not be an option with the inevitable tumbles as the peloton travels from Wanze to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.

Check out details of today's stage here:

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