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July 09, 2007

Stage 2: Steegmans leads self out for win

The story of the day is a late-stage crash, which took out a number of key riders with about 2 kms/1.25 miles to ride. It appeared a Milram rider pulled out of his pedal, slid out on the narrow road, and took a number of riders with him. Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara went down hard, and riders filtered in for several minutes after the day's winners.

Most of the sprint specialists were positioned in front of the wreckage, including Stage 1 winner Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, and Robbie Hunter. Quick Step had Tom Boonen's leadout underway before the crash, and they followed through almost to perfection. The team asked Steegmans, Boonen's final draft, to stay on the front longer than normal because of a finishing hill. Boonen then had trouble getting around his big Belgian teammate, and Steegmans led Boonen across the line for a Quick Step, and Belgian, 1-2 on the day.

Afterward, Steegmans said if Boonen let him win, “it's the best present I have ever had,” Steegmans said.

“Anyway the important thing is we were first and second. It's my biggest win and at the best possible place and I won my first race as a child just 200m from this finishing line. I was overjoyed at the end.”

Top 10
1) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step-Innergetic, Belgium
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step-Innergetic, Belgium, same time
3) Fillippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
4) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa, s.t.
5) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France, s.t.
6) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, s.t.
7) Erik Zabel, Team Milram, Germany, s.t.
8) Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
9) Oscar Freire, Spain, Rabobank, s.t.
10) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, s.t.

UCI rules neutralize the effect of late crashes by giving everyone held up by the crash the same time as the winner, so there's no significant change in the overall standings.

Overall standings after Stage 2:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany
3) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Great Britain
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain

Boonen takes over the green jersey and moves up to 7th in the GC based on bonus time awarded for his 2nd on the stage.

The Guardian reports that Cancellara's wrist is a “minor injury,” but that Lampre's Daniele Bennati was taken to a local hospital after injuring his hip in the crash. Over at ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.), Cathy Mehl reports George Hincapie appears to be all right after lacerating his knee in the crash, and Tomas Vaitkus may have broken his thumb.

Also:

SportingLife.com | Steegmans prevails as crash mars finish

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2007 in Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Romain Feillu, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink

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Comments

Cancellara didn't look good coming across the finish; didn't look like he crashed hard, but afterward he was holding his left arm as if he had a problem with his wrist or collar-bone.

Posted by: info at Jul 9, 2007 11:54:37 AM

CNN reported that it's a "minor hand injury" and Fabian says he'll be fine.
What about Freddie?

Posted by: Allez Comp at Jul 9, 2007 1:42:46 PM

What a carry on in the Quickstep team - 1st stage Boonen complains they aren't quick enough - 2nd stage it turns out they were "too" quick - when Boonen went over the line it seems evident to me he thought he had won - now they seem to b implying it was all "part of the plan" to let Steegmans win a stage ! Haha. A very odd 'team'.

Posted by: The Old Vic at Jul 10, 2007 5:55:01 AM

Boonen couldn't get round Steegmans, what farce - McEwen must be having a chuckle. I think there were probably a few words back in the team bus, lead out men aren't really suppose to beat their captains. I think the pair of them misjudged the hill at the end and got in a pickle. Boonen just doesn't look like the real deal anymore.

Posted by: steph at Jul 10, 2007 9:05:24 AM

Heinrich Haussler - Inverell (NSW) is behind you all the way. Go Aussie go!!

Posted by: irene dasey at Jul 10, 2007 9:27:27 AM