Hushovd gets his revenge, heroics from Hesjedal, great team work from Saxo and Cervelo, Andy Schleck stops being a mummy’s boy, Geraint under scores his arrival and gets a Skoda Yeti and a white jersey, Contador does just fine for an ‘ineffectual Spanish climber’ and a bad day for Lance.
‘Yesterday is history,’ said Hushovd – for sure.
It was a real battle to get L’Ã‰quipe today, with suicidal tourists and bollards that pop up out of the cobbles of the Royal Mile – I wish I could report that it was worth it but all the hassle got me was Saturday’s issue.
We’re into our fourth day of racing and I’ve not yet read one word of Philippe Brunel’s race wisdom – ce n’est pas bon!
There were around 50 K to go when I flopped on the sofa to observe the finalé.
Voigt was driving the infernal Saxo train into the secteur with 44 K to go whilst ahead the break had the best of it with room to manouevre and good lines of sight.
Steve Cummings was up ahead with Roger Kluge and Ryder Hesjedal, all ideal cobbles riders, big strong men and not forgetting Russian long range breakaway specialist Pavel Brutt.
Saxo got the Schleck girls through that section and it was Cervelo taking over at 35 to go – the Mighty Jez well to the fore.
Nice too seeing a British champion’s jersey in the mix, there’s a lot more to come from Geraint.
The carnage came at 25 K to go, Frank Schleck lost it and took down a half a dozen others, including the maillot jaune.
Team mate Cancellara wasn’t waiting this time, though.
Surprisingly, Andy Schleck was with him as was Hushovd, Evans and – Geraint.
Lance was in group two, Alberto in group three; up front Ryder Hesjedal punished himself as the last survivor of the break.
The big Garmin man was actually putting time into his pursuers, on the tops pummeling a monster gear.
Armstrong paid the price for riding on the dirt beside the cobbles with a flat tyre, slipping back past the Contador group.
Popovych rode like a demon for him – and it looked to me that the Texan was suffering badly.
Contador, meanwhile, looked sharp, albeit he’d lost time in the Schleck crash.
‘Popo’ blew – no man can ride like that for too long.
Hesjedal succumbed at around five to go – a great effort.
Contador was excellent, Lance looked wasted, Hushovd hovered in the front group – pay back time.
And so it proved, beating his chest like the King of the Jungle as he took the win – with Geraint taking an excellent second place, the same placing on GC and a that nice white jersey.
Vino’s blasting at the front of the next group distanced ‘Bert’ a wee bit, but Astana have to be happy; they lost a little time on Schleck but put time into Lance – and most importantly, no broken bones.
Yesterday?: An aberration – we’ve got a proper race, again.
Tomorrow?: Cav? maybe, but something says ‘Ale Jet’ to me.
Au revoir, Ã : demain.
Thanks to Paul Turner of Bike Central for the photos.