- Mark Cavendish, Columbia
- Allan Davis, Quick Step
- Tyler Farrar, Garmin
- Matt Goss, Saxo Bank
- Alessandro Petacchi, Lpr
Columbia continue to rule the stages. That's four so far. Obviously the protests against the alleged danger of the stage removed most of the fun. I can sympathize with concerns over safety during the last two stages, though this circuit looked like something I dreamt of.
UPDATE! Thanks to so many of you for some classic, lively PdC discussion of today's polemics below. I don't necessarily have much to add, but as lead blowhard I feel some duty to at least try.
To sum, it seems the pack was split among guys who were for and against the protest. Those for were a mix of riders expressing sincere concerns over the course, whose observations I'm not in a good position to question, and riders still freaked over Pedro Horrillo's frightening fall yesterday. Those against seem to be a mix of riders who had some ambitions for today (and wouldn't a Pozzato attack have been fun?) and maybe riders away from the power center who don't like taking orders from either Lance Armstrong or Danilo Di Luca. If I had to pick, I would give the pro-protest group the benefit of the doubt. I don't think they bail on stages like this very lightly. I agree with those saying they should have done something sooner, but assuming the riders didn't know how dangerous the course was until they started up, even this breach of protocol doesn't outweigh the dangers.
The big losers today were the sporting public of Milan, but if you are expecting me to express a shred of sympathy here, forget it. Half of them were Inter Milan Calcio fans celebrating another monumentally undeserved scudetto, and parking their cars on the course. And as for the rest, well, crying for them is like crying for those poor bankers who lost their fortunes when their decade-long ponzi schemes finally collapsed on themselves and the rest of the world economy. OK, they're a little more blameless. But they still had a race to watch today, and they can still fall back on hosting parts of two of the World's five monuments, plus a part of 87 of the first 93 Giri. Woe are they. Not.
Girbecco says: How will we fans ever move on? Oh, if only there were a stage from Cuneo to Pinerolo... Or a 62km time trial through Cinque Terre... Or a stage from the Amalfi coast to Vesuvio... or...
Rest day tomorrow. Much to blog about. Stay tuned...