Today's multinational sojourn is the first stage people have been talking about in advance. The ride evokes the late spring classics, specifically Amstel Gold with the Cauberg on the course and a finish in Valkenberg, NL. The course includes a total of six rated climbs, with sprint bonuses sprinkled between them, to assure the sprinters' teams have to make the hard choice between working in the middle or working at the end. With Tom Boonen hankering for yellow for tomorrow's return through Belgium, the suspense will begin early around the intermediate sprints, and carry all the way through to the finish where we can find out which of the fast finishers can survive a hard, bumpy day and still win a stage.
I have a crit in the morning, and may not be able to stay til the end, so have at it everyone!