Wednesday, July 11, 2007


McEWEN HAS COMPANY. Well, my thought that Robbie McEwen would dominate the limited number of sprint finishes available in the Tour de France has gone out the window. After the Aussie came from the back of the peloton after a crash and blew the field of sprinters away at the end of Stage 1, I thought he'd follow that up with subsequent stage wins this week.

GREEN JERSEY CHANGE. Instead, the other great sprint contenders have taken their turn in the spotlight. Gert Steegmans and Tom Boonen crossed the line in a one-two Belgian finish for Quickstep in Stage 2. Boonen grabbed the Green Jersey from McEwen and has kept it ever since. Yellow Jersey wearer Fabian Cancellara surprised all hopeful sprinters at the end of Stage 3, powering the last 1ooo meters to solo Swiss glory at the line.

CAN YOU SAY "THOR?" And today it was Thor Hushovd's (in green in photo) turn to shine as he outpowered the field in as long and wide and open a bunch sprint finish you could ever witness. The finish was perfect for the big Norwegian, who was led to the line perfectly by his teammates, each spending themselves on the point while he trailed in their slipstream until the last most crucial moment. Hushovd's stage win gave him enough bonus time to move him into third place overall in the race.

SPRINTERS WILL STAND DOWN. The sprinters will not likely be in the mix at the end of tomorrow's Stage 5. There are several categorized climbs spread out through the course. When the race heads into the mountains, the sprinters yield to the mountain climbing specialists. Some sprinters won't make it thru to the end of the race, such a toll the Alps and Pyrenees will take. Those who DO survive through the mountains will live to have a few more chances to shine on some flat stages and Paris.

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