BOBKE'S REPORT - HOW IT HAPPENED:
Apologies for the tardiness of Bobke's stage two report. He called just after mid-might after I had passed out with notebook in hand waiting for his call. I reached the phone just after the last ring and could not get him back. So it wasn't until Chris and I were driving to the start today that Bobby tried again...so our usual 110% accuracy level could drop a few points as I was listening and writing while we were making our way through horrid morning traffic in Marseille. Cheers, Zap
Stage Two to Brignoles promised to be a day for the fast men and the hands of fate did not disappoint and Mark Cavendish has to be the fastest of the fast men without a doubt. Cavendish showed nothing but his rear wheel to the field for a clear victory and what should be the first of many stage wins to come for Team Columbia.
There was a crash with 800 meters to go caused by Euskatel rider Koldo Fernandez after he saw daylight in the crowd and thought the road went straight instead of making the sharp right turn which everybody else attempted except for him. The crash also took out Boonen and Friere so we were all denied the big win by Cav if he had beat them as well.
I must give a shout-out to Tyler Farrar who in his first Tour de France is already showing that the U.S. Finally has another sprinter to call its own. It's been a long time – since Davis Phinney twenty years ago – that we had a sprinter to cheer on during the flat stages of a Grand Tour. When you think about it, it's strange that America has almost exclusively produced overall contenders - our sprinters have been few and far in between.
It was a good day for Lance who stayed out of trouble. It was hot and long so it wasn't like a day off, but I think the leadership for Astana has yet to be determined and it might not be until the last week of the Tour. To muddy the waters ever further, Levi is also riding good, but I don't see a time when any of the Astana boys will race against the other in this race.
Here's a short preview of what's to come from Bobke following Monday's electrifying stage....
“ That was a lick-a-licious, hum-dinger of a stage! If you want to boogie with the boogieman you better bring your game! As for Alberto – would you like some salt for your wound?!”