Tour de France Stage 8

Ok, that was a surprise. The stage was flat enough that the sprinters teams *could* have controlled the field and made a bunch sprint. But it looks like Boonen decided that his team had done enough work this week and waited for another sprinter’s team to step up, and none of them did.

Instead Phonak, Floyd Landis’ team, acted like the “senior team” like US Postal/Discovery has in the past, and made pace most of the day. But Phonak wasn’t concerned with catching the six man break away, so they didn’t go any faster than they had to. Eventually some of the sprinter teams started to step up, but it was too late – with 30km to go, they started to close the gap, but Calzati attacked off break-away, nobody went with him, and he stayed away and won. Two more of the break-away tried to bridge up to Calzati but they left it too late and couldn’t make it.

The surprise of the break-away is Kessler, who won off the top of the Cauberg a few days ago. He was in the break-away, but just sitting on, never taking a turn at front. And yet, he didn’t use that energy to chase either of the attacks off the break-away and ended up being absorbed back into the peleton along with the other two.

Behind the two break-away groups, there was a bunch sprint and once again Robbie McEwan out sprinted the rest of the sprinters and got some more lead in the green jersey. No significant change in the GC.

Tomorrow is a rest day, then Tuesday is another dead flat stage on the coast of Bordeaux. Wednesday is the first mountain stage, although it has a long downhill finish.