July 05, 2004
Stage 2 wrap-up and a look at Stage 3
A good look at Robbie McEwen, and what his win for the Belgian Lotto-Domo team will mean in Belgium:
The 32-year-old Australian has spent the bulk of his eight-year career riding for Dutch and Belgian teams, and his current squad, Lotto-Domo, is sponsored by the Belgian national lottery. He lives in Brakel, the city regarded as the hub of the country's cycling, and is married to a local ophthalmologist.
As if that were not enough to make him Belgian by adoption, McEwen rattled off most of his explanations for the fourth Tour stage win of his career in high-speed Flemish, a language he dominates so well he sometimes has problems remembering the equivalent word in English.
This AP story outlines the results in today's Stage 2, and looks ahead to tomorrow's Stage 3, which might make or break a few riders' Tours. A little more than 2 miles of the course tomorrow travels over traditional Belgian pavé, cobblestones that can be very treacherous, even more so in the rain.
A couple of teams will be riding wider wheels for the stage, inclding Tyler Hamilton's Phonak squad.
Hamilton says he would have avoided the stones had he designed the Tour route.
"But that's what bike racing is all about, different terrain, mountains, flat stages, crosswinds and this year cobblestones," he said. "We'll obviously try to stay toward the front and try to stay upright, obviously. Our goal for that day is just safety."
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