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July 03, 2005

Stage 2 underway

We have the 2005 Tour's first doomed break! Out in front Sylvain Calzati, Thomas Voeckler, Laszlo Bodrogi, and David Canada flew their team flags, at one point around 3:30 up on the field.

Voeckler is the rider who got into an opportunistic break in last year's Tour (while the French national champion, no less) and wore the yellow jersey for 10 days, fighting and scratching to hold on to it as the race headed into the Alps. He then held the young rider's white jersey until the final TT, when Vladimir Karpets took over the lead in that competition.

Lance Armstrong is wearing the green jersey today, since David Zabriskie can only wear one jersey at a time. Whoever wins the stage today will become the first real green jersey.

It's a very easy course profile today, and only 181 kilometers, or around 110 miles.

Everybody and his brother is predicting McEwen today; I'm going to be contrarian, and go with Quick Step's Tom Boonen. McEwen will be adjusting to a new lead-out man, American Fast Freddie Rodriguez. Other sprinters to watch: Baden Cooke and Thor Hushovd.

There's a 4th category climb coming up, and if the break can survive to the top, one of its riders will wear the mountain jersey for at least tonight.

The breakaway has survived, and will contest the polka-dot jersey; David Cañada launched an attack and gapped the group, and now Voeckler slingshots off of Calzati, bridges up to Cañada, and sprints away from him with 50-75 meters to ride. At the top, he's over first, so he'll wear his third different Tour jersey (yellow, white, polka-dot).

Bodrogi falls back into the field, leaving three leaders to catch. Erik Dekker tries a late attack, but FdJ puts Carlos da Cruz on his back wheel, and he can't make it stick.

With 6 kms to ride, the breakaway is absorbed. It's a sprint finish with some turns; could get dicey.

In the last 2 kms, a couple of opportunistic attacks from Beneteau and Zaballa, but for nothing.

It's the big boys for the sprints: McEwen may have jumped a little early, and Tom Boonen gets his back wheel and comes around him for the win. Thor Hushovd is right there.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2005 in Fred Rodriguez, Robbie McEwen, Stage profiles, Thomas Voeckler, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink


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