PREDICTABLY UNEVENTFUL. That had to be the most uneventful and borderline boring of stages to date. A long breakaway that gets chased down and swept up within the last kilometer, followed by a bunch sprint perfectly set up for Tom Boonen by his QuickStep blue train. Next.
SOME WHO WEREN'T BORED. I'm sure it wasn't boring for the two escapees. Or for any rider in the peloton just hoping to remain safe and conserve something for the Individual Time Trial tomorrow and the Pyrenees mountains ahead. Or for Boonen and his boys, who've claimed three of the sprint finishes within their squad. Or for sprinters Eric Zabel and Robbie Hunter, who were at the line with Boonen, and who are now within striking distance of the Green Jersey.
RASMUSSEN ON THE HOT SEAT. And it certainly wasn't boring for Yellow Jersey wearer Michael Rasmussen, who had all day to think various thoughts about the Danish cycling officials suspending him from national competition at this particular moment in time because he did not properly turn in his spring travel schedule (for purposes of availability for random drug testing) last month. Some are saying it is mean-spirited and intended to harm the Tour de France. On the other hand, VeloNews is reporting a story today that squarely implicates Rasmussen in past doping activities. Here we go again...?
I LOVE YA, TOMORROW. But this, above all other such transitional stages, was a lull before the storm. The storm begins tomorrow. Tomorrow's Individual Time Trial will shake up the Tour. And whoever remains in contention at the end of Stage 13 will be sorely tested and attacked by all others over the next three mountain stages. Today was a quiet day at the office. Tomorrow it's every cyclist for himself. Today was uninspiring. Tomorrow...hang on to your helmets.