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Game... On!

Cycling TV has worked like a charm, the pre-race favorites are all in place, and I'm one latte away from an ideal morning. Let's get to the action!

  • "Hello to Tom Chandler at the Podium Cafe..." Our own TCWriter makes Cycling blogging-and-streaming history, and scores this site its best plug yet!! Did I mention I'm having a good morning?
  • Brian Smith is giving us a quick P-R tech update... lower tyre pressure, more aluminum over carbon, gel in the bar tape, etc. By the way, I've never caught the name of the primary announcer, and "Brian Smith" is un-google-able ("1.7 trillion responses..."). It's shocking how little about I actually know, although it has something to do with their site redirecting straight to the player launch.
  • More unexpected nice weather... Boonen looks fairly isolated, reducing his status from overwhelming favorite to large favorite. Flecha attacks!! He's got a gap... but Boonen replies!!
  • Cancellara bridges too, CSC's Michaelsen fades, Discovery counters and rejoins. Discovery are the only team with three in the front break, so the onus is on them to make things happen, and everyone's looking for a chance to break them up. Not happening yet. Gert Steegmans is wilting a bit. Ballan calls the team car. Where's Van Petegem? looks like he's made it in so far.
  • Mons-en-Pevelee now; 10 pave sections and 30 miles to go, but this is a 5-star one. Lots of accelerations, including Cancellara and Flecha again. Both are obviously on a good ride, or desperate to shake Boonen and Disco. Brian tells us Disco are doing nothing, on likely orders to be patient. Patience makes me nervous.
  • Hincapie is down! And looking hurt ... his handlebars or stem simply snapped and collapsed underneath him, and he launched over to the side! He's stunned, bummed, out... He didn't land onthe pave, so I'm guessing nothing broken. Hoste and Gusev ride on.
  • And the selection is made as well!! Boonen, Van Petegem, Cancellara and Ballan are away, thanks to the crash. This is a select group, with two small groups of strongmen behind. Disco boys have Flecha and Eisel with them; behind Weseman, Guisdon and Steegmans, behind the leaders.
  • Off the cobbles, and the Disco riders with Flecha have rejoined! This is the best cycling action of the year.
  • Boonen accelerates past the TGV, and the riders hit more pave, section -8. Eisel is behind a car in a cloud of dust, not a comfortable position.
  • Our boys at are trying to get info about Hincapie's "mechanical." Apparently he went down early, maybe softened something up. Steve Bauer on the phone to Brian now... he likes Discovery's numbers, and recalling the taste of blood and dust in his mouth fondly. Also he counsels patience. Boonen in front now...
  • Gusev and Hoste still looking OK for what's left of Discovery, which is more than what's left of any other squad. Brian: it's a waiting game now. 31KM to go. Luck has mostly been played out, so it's down to strength now.