Another (mostly) sprint stage, with 4 shorter climbs to break up the race. Actually, I want to correct a mistake from a previous Tour post, it’s Magnus Backstedt not Thor Hushovd who is the “biggest” guy in the peloton (heaviest rider) every year. Anyhow, Tom Boonen is gunning for green (and yellow via time bonuses), as he and Thor Hushovd contested every sprint along the way. Thor Hushovd actually pulled out of his pedals in the final sprint (that he didn’t crash is a testimony of the professional sprinter’s agility and a non-testimonial for whichever pedal/cleat brand he uses). Robbie McEwan took the stage win, which was predicted by CyclingNews as Thor and Tom had contested all the previous sprints and would have less in the tank as a result.
Matthias Kessler at the 6km mark took a flyer off the front and just barely didn’t hold it as he was caught (barely) in the final few hundred meters.
Thor Hushovd’s injury has now been semi-officially blamed on some cardboard handouts of green hands given out to the crowd to cheer on the green jersey competition. Apparently it was a paper cut from the cardboard edge of the card. I’m guessing the excessive bleeding was on account of the somewhat extreme state of his cardiovascular system at the time of the injury.