Tour+de+France+logoTwo riders away all day from kilometre zero, they get caught with six K to go, Giant dominates the finale, Kittel wins.

And that was that – but ah, yes, it did rain for the finish.

I guess the boys deserve a bit of R & R after yesterday’s mini-Ardennes death race – but a two man break holding the 194 man peloton off until they could almost hear the finish flag flapping ?

But as they say in the USA; ‘KUDOS’ to Bideau and Barta showing those Pro Tour wheels suckers how it’s done.

Barta is Czech time trial champion and as hard as they come – his efforts got him on the podium as most aggressive rider of the day.

And his team mate and ex-Condor man, Zak Dempster took 11th in the madness of that gallop – so not a bad day at all for NetApp-Endura.

The break was let go without much of a fight by the peloton. Photo©Eurosport.fr
The break was let go without much of a fight by the peloton. Photo©Eurosport.fr

Bretagne-Seche Environnement also ‘honoured the race’ through Bideau’s efforts with Barta and by placing former flyer and now on the comeback trail from illness, Roman Feilu in the top ten.

I used to like Feillu’s sprinting – the man was patently deranged.

But Kittel is a straight line drag racer and a mightily impressive one – and so is his team with Degenkolb in particular putting in a massive, leg ripper of a turn in the finale.

Kittel's Second
Kittel takes his second stage in a straight gallop. Photo©Eric Feferberg

Sagan again showed his intelligence; he knows that Kittel is quicker and there’s no way he can beat him in a drag race so he latched on to the German’s wheel and stayed there – not even thinking about coming off it.

Good to see Coquard racing aggressively with the slight Frenchman and his Europcar equipiers not afraid to mix it with the Giant giants on their Giants – sorry.

Kittel's Second
Bryan Coquard. Photo©TeamEuropcar.

Massive crowds again and I must admit that the Media has caught Tour Fever with The Times even giving the race a ‘wrap’ today (Monday).

It’ll be interesting to see how the coverage goes after tomorrow’s stage, ‘back ont t’other side’t Channel.’

As a matter of interest, I asked our Euro Pundit, Ivan what the word is on the Tour in Britain on the Belgian Velo Forums – which I might and are not inhabited by Trolls but serious students of the sport:

“The minority, maybe a dozen guys, mostly Dutch, who are pro-mondialiation, think it was very good.

“The majority are against mondialisation and think it’s all about commerce triumphing, and there is no real depth to the interest in Velosport in the UK.

“The GB interest wasn’t really about cycling, more about the Tour as a mega sporting event, which happens to be cycling, a jolly day out at a mega sporting event rather than interest in cycling for its own sake.

“You have that general purpose interest in le Tour in France too, but the cultural roots in France are a century deep, in GB it’s more AstroTurf, shipped in, laid and taken up again.”

A good way to put it…

Greg Lemond clunked his way through his slot again – and I could hear almost the keys on ‘outraged of Chipping Sodbury’s’ laptop clacking as he expressed his dismay at an ‘evil doper’ like Vinokourov being allowed to share the same good Yorkshire air as an all American hero like Greg Lemond.

Check out Vino’s palmarès sometime – nobody could take that much kit over all those years and still look so healthy.

Nibali, Contador and Froome all kept well to the fore on the run in, with Tinkoff’s answer to a battle hardened marine sergeant, Matteo Tosatto spending a lot of time on the front line inspiring his troops.

And on the subject of battles – let’s look two days ahead to the pave of Northern France.

Kittel's Second
Cancellara is looking forward to the cobbles. Photo©TrekFactory

Now, here’s the thing – the man who’s happy to refer to himself as the leader of a slave revolt in ancient Rome; but who’s actually one of the highest paid riders in the sport has announced that he’s going to, ‘give it laldy’ over the cobbles – ‘every man for himself’ and all of that.

Did I imagine said short sword bearing sandal wearer being the man who called a truce due to ‘dangerous road conditions’ back in 2010 whilst clad in yellow?

Ah, but yes, I forgot, he had GC guys on his team then and his team mates, the Schlecks were way back and in danger of losing any GC hopes before the Tour had really begun.

To jog your grey matter, check out what we said at the time… some people have short memories.

Maybe I’ll find that L’Équipe tomorrow…

A demain.