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July 02, 2006

Casper the stage, Hincapie in yellow, Hushovd injured in sprint

Race leader Thor Hushovd was taken away in an ambulance at the end of Stage 1 in Strasbourg. It appeared that Hushovd, sprinting right along the right edge of the road, caught a fan's hand-shaped poster, cutting his arm with less than 50 meters to race.

It was a chaotic sprint, and favorite Tom Boonen went too soon, and couldn't go top 10 (cyclingnews.com says Boonen may also have hit a fan). Robbie McEwen switched off wheels from Hushovd to Boonen, and as he does, appeared in the thick of it at the last instant, but he waited a touch too long, and the French got their first stage win of the year: Jimmy Casper of Cofidis, who edged McEwen and Milram's Erik Zabel.

Discovery Channel's George Hincapie takes the race leadership, after a cagey attack for an intermediate sprint that gave him 2 seconds bonus, against the possibility that none of the riders near the top of the GC competition would take bonus time from a top-3 finish on the day.

Top 10:
1) Casper, in 4:10:00
2) McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, same time
3) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
4) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
6) Isaac Galvez, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.
7) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, s.t.
8) Bernard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
10) Oscar Freire, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Hincapie, Discovery Channel
2) Hushovd, at :02
3) David Zabriskie, CSC, at :03
4) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at :06
5) Alejandro Valverde, at :06
6) Stuart O'Grady, CSC
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :08
8) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :10
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :11
10) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, at :11

Wegmann takes the first (cheap) mountains jersey, while Vaugrenard, involved in a long break where he took some bonus time, takes the young riders' white jersey.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Dave Zabriskie, Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink


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Hincapie looked like a little kid who'd been waiting his whole life to put that yellow shirt on.

But why in the world would he - a reasonable GC contender - want the yellow so early?

This puts Discovery back in their all too familiar role. I was looking forward to the "anonymous leader" strategy and hoping they'd send different guys out on attack every day and really disrupt things.

This doesn't sound like Bruyneel at all.

Posted by: Rex at Jul 2, 2006 5:45:24 PM

i always know that after Lance wass Hincapie keep i real my boys i'm your fan

Posted by: Lloyd williams at Jul 2, 2006 7:33:02 PM

Good for George, but I have a feeling that in the end it's going to come down to Valverde (who can climb) and Landis, who's really strong. Be interesting to see.

Posted by: Tim Smith at Jul 3, 2006 2:47:59 AM

Le tour est parti, et franchement, il promet beaucoup. Il est ouvert et plus passionnant que jamais. Tous les jours, je vais essayer de mettre mes propres commentaires, si ça vous intéresse, passez me faire un p'tit coucou.

En tout cas, je suis trop content pour Jimmy, quelle victoire ! En costaud ! C'est vraiment mérité pour ce coureur vraiment sympa ;o)

Posted by: Vincent at Jul 3, 2006 9:52:52 AM