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Tour de France: Jambon Report Stage 2
By Locutus
Date: 7/3/2005
Tour de France: Jambon Report Stage 2
Golden Hams of the Day
  • "T-Bone" Tom Boonen (Quick Step). His team did a lot of work on the stage to bring back the break, and then Guido Trenti went to the front at the right time in the final kilometer to get the sprint up to speed. When McEwen jumped up the right hand barriers, Boonen did a great job to jump over and get on his wheel. Boonen then blew everybody's doors off, putting in a final 200 meters that nobody could match. His kick today was every bit as dominating as the Petacchi of two years ago, and claiming the Green Jersey and throwing down the gauntlet to his rivals. The positioning, teamwork, and responsiveness in that final kilometer makes it clear that when it comes to green, T-Bone is the man to beat this year.
  • Thomas "No Doubt" Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom). Tommy V was a prime mover in the four-man break that dominated most of the stage. More importantly, he timed his jump perfectly to beat David Canada (Saunier Duval-Prodir) to the top of the only "climb" of the day. This put Tommy in the Polka Dot Jersey, which seems to be reserved these days for the French. With Virenque gone from the sport, it seems appropriate that Voeckler pick up the mantle and take the first mountain… it has a strange sense of symmetry, and gives the home crowd something important to cheer for. But not just the French cheer for Voeckler: after his gutsy ride in the Yellow Jersey last year, he is one of the most popular men in the peloton. It's good to see him off the front again, if even just for the day.
  • Thor "Don't Call me Loki" Hushovd (Credit Agricole). The big Norskie powerhouse showed today that he is ready to and able to contend for the Green Jersey. He hung on to Boonen's wheel and had enough kick to pass McEwen, bringing him across the line in 2nd in that hotly contested sprint. The burst Thor showed made clear that he is fully capable of taking at least one stage like he did last year. With his increased experience and formidable strength, he could pull off an upset and take the Green in Paris. At the very least, he makes the whole Boonen vs. McEwen discussion a lot more interesting. Hei hei Norge!
  • Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole). After his solid ride to 5th in yesterday's time trial, he took a couple of intermediate sprints to move up into 3rd on GC at 47". More importantly, he was off the front flying the Credit Agricole flag which allowed his boys to sit in most of the stage. This set up Hushovd perfectly, and only a powerful Boonen kept the CA green meanies from taking the stage. A nice, well executed plan, with the aggressive and powerful Bodrogi carrying the load.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto). Robbie jumped too early, and couldn't hold off the charge of his two biggest rivals near the end. Fear not, Robbie fans: this was a matter of mistiming the sprint as much as it was of "bad" legs. That's what happens in sprints sometimes. McEwen still managed 3rd, keeping himself right in the middle of the Green Jersey wars. Sure, Robbie wasn't at his best today, but you can bet he'll be back and taking a stage in no time.
  • David "Friskie" Zabriskie (CSC). The young American in the Yellow Jersey crossed the line in 71st today, but he and his team did exactly what they had to: the CSC men kept the breakaway close enough for the sprinters' teams to do all the work in the last segment of the race. They also gave Zabriskie and armchair ride, as he just had to sit on wheels, smile, and talk to Lance about how to work that Yellow Jersey. I must say, the Friskie Z looks very comfortable in Yellow… it's a color that he could be wearing quite a lot in the years to come.
  • "Mad" Bradlee McGee and Baden Cooke ( The Aussie speedster McGee did a lot of work today to put his man Cookie in position, but got swamped with about 800 meters to go. The team did a lot of work in the final 50 kilometers as well, but Cookie didn't finish off the job. Still, it wasn't all Cookie's fault: he got boxed in by a flying Boonen as the Belgian jumped to the right to grab McEwen's wheel. Cookie had to sit up for a second to avoid a crash, and was never able to get back into the front of the sprint after that. One has to wonder if McGee isn't spending a little too much energy: McGee hopes to contend for a high GC position come the mountains, and putting his nose in the wind so much at the front might take the edge off of his legs. Then again, he looked a bit sluggish in that time trial yesterday… maybe the work will be good for him, and bring the sharpness out in his legs. For his part, Cookie just needs to keep his chin up and keep working hard… he's a fine sprinter, and his moment will come.
  • Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile). The big German was very attentive today, spending a lot of time near the front but staying out of the wind. He finished in 19th, and was the only big GC man to finish in front of that crash that split the peloton in the final kilometer. He didn’t pick up any time because of the 3 kilometer neutralization rule in grand tours, but he showed that his form and focus are better than his time trial yesterday indicated. In other words, he did the best job of all the GC favorites in staying out of trouble and gazing at the hams today. Sometimes ham-gazing takes a lot of work and diligence, and is a necessary skill for a GC rider that Jan has clearly mastered.
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