Yes! real racing! None of the this “prelude” crap (with all the yacking Bob Roll’s been doing about his historic crash in ’88, you think they’d have stopped doing this sort of thing by now…), but a full-on, nasty-breakaway, blow-the-race-apart stage one. Dang, my expectations were more than fulfilled. Anyone finishing 20th or worse today is now 12 minutes behind. Also note that the Robbie McEwen is in some serious shape (taking third in a non-sprint out of a long break) with over six months to go before the tour. That’s something Thor “12 minutes down” Hushovd might want to make a note of. Certrainly this will not escape the Norweigan viewing public, as they seem to have have nothing better to do with their four hours of daylight than watch Thor rip it up on the other side of the Earth.
But its not all cheer for Australia (Ag2r’s resident antipodean Simon Gerrans came away with the win), as Stuart O’Grady, the latest blade in Bjarne Riis’ CSC lawnmower, says he’s giving up the hunt for Green, after lord knows how many near misses, in favor of pursuing the Classics. So maybe, then, we’ll get to see the former pub boxing (search “kanga”) maillot jaune and vert in action at the Johan Museeuw Classic. Never heard of it? Well, apparently, it used to be the Three Days of Flanders, but then Johan Museeuw got suspended for two years from cycling for doping, even though he’d already retired, so they named a race after him (wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense…). At least Armstrong (who recently showcased his historical and geopolitical ignorance in South Africa) can now worry less about those old urine samples coming back to haunt him.