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Fabian Cancellara gets pipped at the post—Le Tour stage 1 does not disappoint as the rampaging continues

Glenn Reeves

Peter Sagan just takes it out ahead of Fabian Cancellara with Cadel Evans not far off the pace a little to the rear

You’re probably familiar with the saying “It’s nothing to write home about” right? In short, nothing special or remarkable happens to warrant putting pen to paper or, I guess these days, finger to iPad touch screen.

Now, I was—completely unjustifiably—sure that whilst there would be plenty to marvel at as winter returned to its cave and the pro peloton rolled out into the Spring classics, there would be, well, nothing especially remarkable to write home about. Wrong, dude. Wrong. A demonstrably completely indefensible intuition.

No sooner had Spring arrived I found myself shaking my head in disbelief—another of those sayings—as a rampaging Tommeke charged clear of the pack with 50 to go and basically cleaned up. Twice. To repeat a buddy of mine’s Facebook page quip: “Tom Boonen, you’re a beast!”

Unsurprisingly, in hindsight, as the guys got down to business yesterday, there was also no end of drama as the end game played out. With 20km to go BMC moved into position along the right flank at the tip of the spear. “Evans working for Gilbert?” one commentator remarked to the other as they exchanged glances in eager anticipation.

That may have been the plan along with the added bonus of keeping Cadel reasonably safe, a tactic which certainly worked for them last year. However it soon fell apart. The wildcard of spectator interference certainly didn’t help as the first significant pileup for the year disrupted the flow.

The plan may have been to launch Philippe at the line but both he and Cavendish, who was also moving up into position, were soon out of contention.

Cadel, on the other and, was right amongst it, reaffirming his ability to rampage with the best of them, before a hungry Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan and  Edvald Boasson Hagen got a whisker ahead of  the main group, the much anticipated “nasty” climb to the finish having shuffled the deck. At this point my internet feed began to freeze up, reducing the fluid drama to a succession of offbeat stills—I ground my teeth in agony.

Fortunately the bandwidth spirits were momentarily distracted from doing mischief and one was able to enjoy the spectacle of a rampaging-on-overdrive Fabian Cancellara almost taking the win. Peter Sagan went over the top of him fairly comfortably as it turned out, to enjoy the first Tour stage win of his career as well the distinction of being the youngest rider to do so in many a year (Don’t worry Mark, you’ll make up for it, most likely tomorrow).

Nothing to write home about eh? I’m looking especially forward to Tuesday’s stage 3 to effect a shake up at the top. But there’s stage 2 to go before then. . .

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