- First, re: today's fourth stage, the letour.fr recap says that Juan Flecha launched a solo attack with 3km to go, into the headwind. I got a little teary just reading that, so one can imagine how beautiful it was to actually watch. DAMN YOU CYCLING.TV!!!
- So Cavendish outkicks Boonen at the line. Someone will undoubtedly declare the two sprinters even, one stage apiece, and Boonen with the overall as well, but that's nonsense. Cavendish sped past Boonen (as did Heinrich Haussler); Boonen sped past Danilo Napolitano. Not the same thing.
- I will probably keep harkening back to my new numbers formula as the sprint season wears on. One conclusion from last year's numbers (as between Boonen and Cavendish, who are just now becoming on-road "rivals") was that Boonen is more consistent, but Cavendish is more likely to win. Boonen made the top ten and top five slightly more often than Cavendish, not surprisingly given their relative experience, but Cavendish won just slightly more often. The numbers are devilishly close, but a year from now we should see something in the way of a trend. For example, while Cav's 53% wins compares to Boonen (50% last year, 57% max in 2006), that number is well above his 40% winning figure from 2007. It's hard to imagine Boonen topping his 2006 performance, but it's not hard to imagine Cavendish improving on his 2008.
- Anyway, back to the race: the X-factor all week has been a north wind, which mostly hit the peloton head on today and Monday, with more of a cross/tailwind yesterday. Tomorrow is more or less an out-and-back, so while the outset may be hard slogging, the return will see some sidewind madness (re: crashes), or with luck just a harmless tailwind. There's also three mountain passes and an uphill finish to the monastery at Contursi Terme. Woops, I've slipped into the Giro again...
Tour of Qatar 2009 Stage 4 Race Highlights (via Wielerflits)