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Stage 2 Ups 'n Downs

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Tomorrow should be some really terrific action, but we couldn't turn the page on today's amusing stage without some unwarranted celebration and criticism, right? What kind of unaccountable bloggers would we be if we did?

  • Tom Boonen... Take a wild guess.

Two things about Tommeke's stage win today: patience is indeed a virtue. And maybe he doesn't really need a leadout train? Yesterday Quick Step did their Milram impression, and we saw where that got them. Perhaps some sprinters are more effective at reacting to the situation rather than creating it. I mean, can you imagine Robbie McEwen with a four-deep leadout? He'd be elbowing his teammates for second wheel.

  • Mark Cavendish... Loser!

OK, only in the binary world of a meaningless blog post is this really the case, but his long run to the line was rather hapless. In time we may be substituting Ciolek's name here, if in fact Cavendish was merely the leadout guy. In which case, it reminds me of some of my early cat-5 exploits with my buddy Steve. I distinctly remember soloing away from the pack in our office park crit at the 500 meter mark, thinking I was launching my nonexistent friend to the win, when instead I was merely starting a lonely sprint about 300 meters too soon. Ah, the violent accelerations of youth... Anyway, I stand by my hunch about the High Road intramural competition. They didn't look like a cohesive unit once they hit Sacto today.

  • Mario Cipollini... Winner!

Good god, the guy takes how many years off the bike, dithers all winter about whether he's interested in returning, flies over at the last second, and starts placing in field sprints? OK, granted, 3pm is like 11pm in Italy, when Super Mario is just sitting down to dinner [why am I reminded of John Travolta covering his silk shirt with a bedsheet at the dinner table?], so the time change shouldn't matter. But how much more than instinct can he be going on right now? Does the peloton part before his presence? Should Boonen be scared if Mario is still around on Thursday?

  • Slipstream... Winners!

Somebody had to defrock CSC, and Tyler Farrar was the man to do it. Tomorrow will be wide open, and I expect a completely different set of names at the line, but you never know. Slipstream are fighting for attention among the big boys of Cycling right now, trying to prove their bona fides for the Grand Tours, and since the way forward is murky, grabbing the jersey for a day (or more) is a good thing.

  • BMC... meh.

OK, you exist. I get it. These long solo breaks are inspiring if it looks like the rider is serious about actually winning the stage and not merely vying for camera time. Yesterday I thought Stewart was serious. Nydam... not so much. That's not a diss - it's February - but it does little for the viewers day after day.