On these uneventful transition stages it is tempting just to label all those who watched "losers" and those who were otherwise engaged "winners" but the truth is that even on these days the Tour is a beautiful spectacle to watch. A long, patience-testing spectacle, but still.
On the attack
Alessandro Petacchi. It's time for Act 2 of the green jersey competition. The days of early flat stages, fresh legs and harmless escapes are over. Those first clean battles. man against man, team against team, on the open battlefield of predictable bunch gallops are history. Now those still in the fight will have to get stuck into the dirty guerrilla warfare that is the green jersey-fight once the peloton is worn out and decimated. With fatigue comes unpredictability. Breaks that should be harmless stay away and sprints with tired trains become free-for-alls. Alessandro Petacchi has clearly embraced this. Not only has he stayed in the race but he is out there fighting for every point, using his team to trip up the competition and doing all the things you need to do to grab the jersey. After today he looks like a very serious threat in the points competition. Oh and by the way. Mark Cavendish does not.
Off the back
Les enfants de la patrie. 2005 was apparently the last time a Frenchman won on the 14:th of July. This year looked really promising but when the attacks started flying today it soon became apparent that no one was going to surrender the day to the Frenchmen. Sure we saw the usual suspects in the early attempts but when the break was finally established and the heads of the peloton sat up to start enjoying the first relaxing day in the Tour so far, it was 100% non-french. Cranky-ness ensued among the french teams and finally a small chase of two Frenchmen went after the break and eventually joined it. It didn't long though as the stage got to the tricky part for the two BastilleDay alibis to prove themselves thoroughly un-threatening. Imagine the surprise. Better luck next year.
"I think I nodded off there for a moment. Did Pierrick win yet?"