2012 Tour de France–Stage 1

1 Jul

This is the part of the Tour that is predictable. It was predictable that Fabian Cancellara won the Prologue yesterday and predictable that Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was a good bet to win today. He did, besting Cancellara at the line after Cancellara was nice enough to tow him to the finish line. As they say… that’s bike racing.

Last night in my post I picked either Phillip Gilbert or Sagan to win, Gilbert finished 4th. He hasn’t quite had the form he had last year it seems or else he’s been holding back. Apparently he wasn’t holding back, today was a stage near his home and a stage win that he admitted he wanted but he couldn’t pull it off. 

Stage 1 wasn’t a flat stage for the sprinters or a mountainous stage for the pure climbers. It had a few category 4 hills with the last climb being short but steep. Between the final climb, the 2nd crash, crosswinds and the pace of the chasing peloton, there were some huge time gaps that resulted. Riders were still coming across the finish 4 minutes after Sagan took the win and did one of the better victory salutes we’ve seen in a while.

This is part of it:

Bryn Lennon-Getty Images

Sagan is only 22 years old and in his first Tour, but he rides like he’s been there before. He’s strong, confident and immensely talented. We will see many more victory salutes!

In other news… as is the norm in the Tour de France there was a breakaway and crashes. A breakaway that left as soon as race director, Christian Purdhomme dropped the flag signaling the start. The breakaway of six riders managed to stay away until about the 10k mark.

About the time I commented to Mark that there hadn’t been any crashes, there was one, then another. A stupid fan standing on the road taking pictures caused the second crash. Tony Martin (Quickstep) went down, he has had zero luck so far. Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) went down too as did other riders. I haven’t read that any of the riders had dropped out due to injury.

There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not Mark Cavendish (Sky) sprinter extraordinaire would go for the green jersey (points jersey) this year since he will be competing in the Olympics later this month not to mention going for stage victories (he has 20). Cavendish has said he wasn’t interested in the points jersey but today he raced for the interim sprint points so he’s either testing his legs or wants to give it a go.

I bet we see Cavendish go for the win tomorrow and get it.

Still other news…

I don’t like Liam McHugh, nothing personal since I don’t even know the guy, but you get the sense his knowledge of bike racing is from the days of his youth (not that many years ago either) when he raced his buddies home??  Craig Hummer, who was the straight man to Bob Roll, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen in the 2009 and 2010 Tours is now a field reporter.

I say put Liam in a field… far away from the Tour.

Roll, Liggett and Sherwen are still there but Liggett and Sherwen seem out of the pre-race fun and strictly just calling the race. There’s a new guy too in addition to McHugh and Roll in the studio, but he’s got zero on-air personality.

Hey, NBC, I liked the Versus coverage of the race why did you have to go and change it.

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