STEEGMANS PREVAILS. The trek from Dunkirk, France to Ghent, Belgium was long, flat, and wet in parts. Three escapees spent most of the day trying to stay clear of the peloton. But, as usual, they were gobbled up about three kilometers from the finish. This set up a dramatic bunch sprint finish that was marred by a major crash and pile up. At the line, the Belgians prevailed today where they faltered yesterday. Gert Steegmans of QuickStep crossed the line just ahead of his team captain Tom Boonen, also a Belgian. So, there's joy in Belgium tonight. But we'll wait to find out the extent of injuries to the many riders caught up in the big crash.
BOONEN MOVES UP. Tom Boonen, the most highly-regarded athlete in Belgium, moved into the overall Top Ten based on bonus time for his second-place finish. He also moved one point ahead of Robbie McEwen for the sprint championship contest represented by the Green Jersey. One of the things to watch throughout the Tour's flat stages is this context for the Green Jersey, maillot vert.