Boonen finally wins a stage and I didn't pick him! WTF?
Yes, Terrible Tom finally got his stage win. I knew it would happen, or at least hoped... but I hadn't planned for it to be today. Lame, Tom... really lame.
Yes, Tom Boonen won a relatively uneventful stage today. Bradley /Wiggins spent much of the day on a solo break and was caught by the charging field just before the line... with just 7km remaining, meaning he spent about 190km all alone on the front of the race... just to get caught. There were rumors that Brad was allowed the time off the front in honor of the 40th anniversary of the tragic death of fellow British rider Tom Simpson on the slopes of Mount Ventoux in 1967. True or not, for fans of the Tour, it serves as a monument in the sport. God rest your soul, Tom.
The Astana duo of Vinoukorov and Kloden managed to finish the stage with the field and without furthering their injuries. Both were said to be sore, but doing ok. Kloden has the more complicated injury of the two, since it is awfully painful to sit on a cracked tail bone and tomorrow is a long day of climbing in the Alps. Needless to say, his ass will be sore. Vino will likely be taking it easy tomorrow as well, since his muscle soreness will be kicking in. You know how it is- two days after a crash, or other injury, is when the muscle pain really sets in. Tomorrow is gonna suck.
Speaking of tomorrow... the sun will come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar... no... wait. What I meant is that tomorrow is the first day of real climbs as the Tour enters the Alps and the real race begins. After today's relatively easy stage, expect plenty of fireworks tomorrow.
Not that you can see from the image I stole from VeloNews... but tomorrow has the Col de la Colombiere as the final climb of the day, with the summit less than 15km from the finish. Sure, it's a downhill run to the finish... but what an uphill before you get there! I am going to venture a guess here... and it is really a guess... and make Cyril Dessel and Nicolas Portal my top picks for the day. Why two French riders? Well, tomorrow is Bastille Day (the French version of July 4th) and the French riders will be seen as national heroes if they can pull off the win. So expect them all to be seriously flogging themselves to try and get the win. Both of these guys can climb and are both down the GC far enough to not really worry the rest of the GC contenders. Expect fireworks all day, but the real GC riders will be riding to protect their positions on the first day of real climbing. It's a long Tour and tomorrow could prove decisive... but it won't most likely. It's just too soon. That said- I could easily be wrong (again).
So there you have it!