Chavanel! A great day for him and QuickStep – their second stage, the maillot jaune regained and the polka dot jersey retained in gallant fashion.
And maybe the corny jokes about Footon-Servetto will stop now – with two riders in the top ten and Valls Ferri well there in the maillot blanc overall.
He hails from Cocentina in Spain and is only 23; he was 10th on GC in the L’Avenir in 2009 and won a mountain stage in the Tour of San Luis in Argentina earlier this year – Nibali won the GC, so it was no ‘soft’ win.
But Patrick Lefevre’s lawn must be full of four leaf clovers – just when it looks black for him, the clouds roll back and out pops the sun.
Before the Tour it looked disastrous, with the loss of Boonen but the team could home right now, after one week and they’ve had a great Tour.
There’ll be champagne and cigars at the QuickStep marketing director’s table tonight.
Pineau’s ride was cool; he speaks good English and is affable and quotable – Martin and I chatted to him at the Tour last year.
He’s been pro since 2002 when he won the Tour of Normandie and went on to the ride le Tour that season – something he’s done every year since.
Geraint cracked today; but ‘the boy’s done good’ and he’ll be back – he’s young, resilient and very talented.
A bad day for Basso – but it’s so difficult to transport that Giro form over the Alps.
It’s sign of how hard the Tour is this year that the break was allowed to go so early and relatively easily – it was sometimes taking nearly two hours racing last year before a jealous bunch would let the move go.
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The Paper Run?
Saturday’s was a fruitless trip up the Royal Mile to the International Newsagent, ‘nae L’Equipe,’ grim, but so as not to waste the trip we bought La Gazzetta to see what they were saying about Ale’s second stage win.
According to them it’s his 158th win (but there are more in non UCI races) and his ticket to the Melbourne Worlds will be getting booked shortly.
The Gazzetta ranks this as one of his three most beautiful victories, along with the 2005 Milan – Sanremo and beating Cipollini for the Giro points jersey in 2003.
Gazzetta apart, the other thing about my trip to the High Street was I spotted that Hume, the legendary philosopher, had an iPad – jings, all those years ago, too.
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One man who patently isn’t a philosopher is Pat McQuaid, it seems that the UCI is ‘happy‘ that Valverde was nailed over a four year old enquiry.