Before turning our eyes homeward...
- The ToC isn't the only race with its share of controversy. Today's stage 1 of the Volta ao Algarve saw stage-winner Ale-jet Petacchi relegated for impeding Gert Steegmans, who was awarded the stage. "It is big farce," was his response. [It translates to broken English?]
- Meanwhile, in Spain, stage 4 of the Ruta del Sol saw its leader, Dario Cioni, fall in the sprint, but safely inside the last KM. Tom Boonen brought out his top gear, and took the sprint over Danilo Napolitano. One stage -- and five cat-3 climbs -- to go.
- I'm a little bummed that I failed to record yesterday's ToC Stage 2 action; I've yet to see JJ Haedo's finishing speed in action. Something tells me I'll get another chance... Pez with the first gallery.
- Stage 3 looks more challenging with a 2000' climb ten km from the line in San Jose, the Cat-1 Sierra Road. Last year the climb launched a dozen riders of Tour caliber -- Landis, Evans, Horner, Julich, Leipheimer, Simoni -- and George Hincapie took the sprint. So mark your climbers-who-can-sprint for today's finale.
- Off the road, the Pro Tour/Grand Tour standoff continues, with Paris-Nice less than three weeks away. ASO's isolationist statement sounds straight out of their military policy: "ASO indicated that it would organise the race conforming to the French law, and per the rules and regulations of the French Cycling Federation." Uh, OK, though I'm pretty sure Cycling is an international sport. The UCI response is lame: "The president of the UCI said that if the race continues to not follow the framework of the UCI, by refusing participation of all ProTour teams to compete, the UCI will cut it from the ProTour circuit..." Which is exactly what ASO and co. want! Anyway, ASO insists that there be a meeting of all the sport's authorities, which sounds more productive than putting the matter solely into McQuaid's hands. So never say never.