Monday, July 9, 2007
Robbie McEwen won yesterday's Stage 1 of the Tour de France in a bunch sprint into Canterbury. That he won a stage was not particularly surprising; his victory was his 12th career Tour stage win. How he did it, however, was spectacular. With about 20km to go, he was first slowed down and then involved in a crash, separating him and 20 other riders from the rest of the peloton. A desperate chase ensued, and for a long time it appeared that McEwen wouldn't make it back into the main peloton. In addition, he was seen grimacing; his wrist and arm were injured in his fall. He finally rejoined the main pack with about 6km to go, but still had to work his way through 150 other riders to get back to the front. Yet incredibly, amidst some confusion and disorganization at the front, McEwen managed to appear right at the last second (as always) and rocketed himself to victory by over a bike length over Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen. After the stage, McEwen commented that it was one of his greatest wins given all that he had to overcome during the stage to achieve it.
Overall it was a quiet day on what is traditionally a very nervous stage of the Tour. Fabian Cancellara retained the maillot jaune for another day without ever appearing in danger of losing it. David Millar, meanwhile, managed to get into the day's breakaway and earn himself the King of the Mountains jersey. Thus, although he did not manage to be on the podium for the prologue, he nevertheless found a way to be on the podium while still in England.