Le Tour de France Stage 4 and Dean was good, very good, team mate Hunter finished fastest, swooshing clear of them all – but after the line.

Garmin sprinter patron Tyler Farrar sat up to peer over the sea of heaving numbers to see how his boys had done.

Boasson Hagen confirmed his class. Robbie McEwen was close but he ain’t Peter Pan. Oss was up there, we’ll watch him for the near future.

But Ale Jet was imperious – going from a long way out; ‘here I go boys, do what you can about me?!‘ stamping hard on that 53 x 11.

Ale le bienheureax
Ale le bienheureax. (click for the full image)

And no one could do anything except spectate – but he owed a lot to Hondo; his classy German team mate went early and flummoxed the Columbia train.

Columbia – ah, yes, mighty in ’09 but just not the same in ’10.

Eisel was swamped, Renshaw took it up, Cav on his wheel – but when Ale went, Cav was sleeping, he reacted, but was flat-footed to Petacchi’s power.

He doesn’t even look the same – let’s hope tonight’s the night where they sit down around the table and tomorrow we see the ‘real’ Cav.

But can we?

Adam Hansen is out, George Hincapie is with BMC and Michael Rogers is ‘riding for the GC.’ (But to state the obvious; ‘California ain’t France, Mick!’)

Here’s what the Manxman himself said;

“I’m disappointed about today. I felt really good during the stage. I feel sorry for my teammates who rode unbelievably and I just didn’t finish it off at the end.

“We’re really motivated as a team and I’m going to go out there tomorrow and give it one hundred percent again.

“Congratulations to Alessandro [Petacchi] for another great stage win.”

We wish Cav well and hope tomorrow is a better day.

I finally got hold of a race copy of L’Équipe – deep joy, (albeit was Monday’s).

Cav le pyromane.
Cav le pyromane. (click for the full image)

What’s this first headline? ‘Cavendish the pyromaniac – once again the Briton is involved in a crash . .

And helpfully it adds that he went straight on at bend – let’s move on.

Alessandro the good fortuned‘ says his headline, and telling us that he profited because everyone else was on the deck.

It’ll be interesting to see if they dismiss today’s result so trivially.

With any luck we’ll get the L’Équipe take on the ‘Cancellara truce’ tomorrow.

On that very subject, Ivan informs us that the row rumbles on and some of the riders are still tres peesed with Fab; Jurgen Van Den Broeck asked the Swiss in a highly sarcastic manner who he’s going to ‘let win the Tour?’

Here's something you've not seen before - Wiggins's custom saddle
Here’s something you’ve not seen before – Wiggins’s custom saddle. (click for the full image)

And did someone say stats?

  • Most wins: Armstrong 7; Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault and Indurain share 5.
  • Most podiums: Armstrong and Poulidor 8, respectively 7 x 1rst + 1 x 3rd and 3 x 2nd + 5 x 3rd.
  • Most second places: Zoetemelk 6; Ulrich 5.
  • Fastest Tour: 2005, Armstrong 41.654 kph.
  • Fastest en ligne stage: Cipollini, Laval-Blois 1999 – 191 K @ 50.355 kph.
  • Fastest TT: Lemond, Versailles-Paris 1989 – 24.5 K @ 54.545 kph.
  • Fastest TTT: Discovery, Tours-Blois 2005 – 67.5 K @ 57.324 kph.
  • Most stage wins: Merckx 34 (Armstrong 22).
  • Most stage wins in one Tour in recent times: Merckx 8 in 1970 & 1974 and Maertens in 1976.
  • Most sprint wins in a single Tour: 6, Mark Cavendish 2009.
  • Most TT wins: Hinault, 20.
  • Most days in yellow: Merckx 111 (Armstrong 83).
  • Most yellow jerseys in a single Tour: 8 in 1958 and 1987.
  • Most starts: Zoetemelk 16 (Moreau & Hincapie 14)
  • Closest winning margin: Lemond, 8 seconds over Fignon 1989.
  • Biggest winning margin in recent times: Merckx 17:54 over Pingeon in 1969.
  • Green jerseys: Zabel, 6 (McEwen 3).
  • Mountains: Virenque: 7.
  • Best young rider: Ulrich 3.

Don’t panic if you’re not bored enough with the stats – we’ve got lots more !

Ale hints at ‘the babies’ in the peloton. Photo©Sirotti.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Thanks to Paul Turner of Bike Central for the photo of Wiggo’s saddle.