Stage 1: Strasbourg - Strasbourg

Jimmy Caspar took advantage of the favorites marking each other to sprint around for the finish. Boonen came to the front and looked over his shoulder at McEwen, Zabel, and Hushovd on his wheel. In the meantime, Caspar came flying around Boonen's left and there was little Boonen and the others could do to hold it. Caspar got the stage win and the green jersey as a result, which should make for great celebrations in France right now -- a double win, really, given their World Cup victory over Brazil.

The biggest prize on the day went George Hincapie, who snuck in an attack at the final sprint point to take 2 bonus seconds, which was enough to take back the yellow jersey from Thor Hushovd. This is Hincapie's first ever yellow jersey, which has to feel sweet after helping Lance put on so many and after narrowly missing out on getting one yesterday. Hincapie's lead on Hushovd and Boonen is very narrow, especially with a week of sprint stages still left, but we shall see how Discovery chooses to defend it. It does appear that Discovery wants to attack this race from start to finish, which should make for some exciting racing to come.

There was a long seven-man breakaway during the stage that didn't lead to the stage win, but Fabian Wegmann managed to get himself the first KOM jersey by winning the sprint up the baby climb on the day.

Hushovd had the worst day of the bunch: in addition to losing his yellow jersey lead, he arm made contact with a spectator's banner as he raced up the right side. He was seen bleeding quite a bit at race's end, but according to his team he will be alright.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Boonen 1st, McEwen 2nd * Actual: Caspar 1st, McEwen 2nd, Boonen 13th

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TiVo-delayed 'live' log

Prediction: Boonen 1st, McEwen 2nd (sprint stage predictions are always a bit boring). The yellow jersey might give Thor some turbo legs, but my money is on Boonen.

Another big prediction to make is whether or not there will be any bad crashes, who whose Tour hopes will be dashed by it. Without the presence of Petacchi, Milram may not make the same effort to control the sprint going to the finish line. Without a sprint team really controlling the pace into town, we might see a bit of ugliness.

I'm still a bit behind schedule as I catch up on sleep. I'll be getting closer to live time later this week.

Time for the sprint week of the Tour de France to begin. Boonen will be going for a yellow jersey while at the same time building a good lead in the green jersey competition. McEwen will be doing his best to jump from Boonen's wheel and go for those same objectives. Boonen has a bit more strength and a better prologue time, but Thor Hushovd could win a sprint stage himself and will be hard to get seconds back on.

There's a seven-man breakaway with a 4:28 lead on the peloton. Vaugrenard took the sprint points and six-second bonus -- he would need 13 more seconds to take the yellow jersey. Wegmann is in the break and is a strong sprinter, but I don't think they peloton will let him have the opportunity to go for the win.

Discovery has weird yellow placards for their race numbers, which goes to the team in the overall lead. I guess this is to give more prestige to the team competition, though they look a little weird on camera.

Wegmann got himself the first KOM of the Tour so he'll be putting on the KOM jersey at the end of the day for that little sprinter-friendly hill.

With less than 50 miles to go the lead is still holding at about 4:30+

The sprint teams are bringing it back now. 2:35 with about 30 miles to go

Vaugrenard couldn't pick up the second sprint for the extra 6-second bonus -- he got beat out by Beneteau, who jumped when Vaugrenard was a bit boxed in.

1:30 with 21 miles to go

With the break about to be swept up Beneteau has attacked. 10 miles is a lot of distance to hold off the charging field.

The rest of the breakaway has been caught. Shouldn't be long until Beneteau is caught.

Beneteau took the final 6-second sprint bonus.

Hincapie is attacking at the final sprint point! He got beat out by Credit Agricole rider but he still gets the third-place 2-second time bonus. That is enough to put Hincapie in the virtual yellow jersey and take it away from Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd. What a great move. Hushovd needed one more teammate to hold off that move from Hincapie. Hincapie will still have to worry about Boonen if he wants to hold onto his yellow jersey for long.

Beneteau has been caught.

4.5k to go. A Milram rider is slightly off the front, setting too fast a pace perhaps.

Danilo Di Luca has popped off the back. That's a very bad sign for Liquigas.

A lot of riders are going to be intersted in this sprint finish with the top of the overall standings so close. Valverde is riding up close to the front.

No team is in control of the front. It's quite messy at the front, though Liquigas has a couple riders near the front. The peloton is starting to sting out into a single line.

1km to go, the peloton is safely through the final turn.

Hushovd is in second spot behind his teammate. McEwen is sitting 3rd, Zabel 4th

Boonen moves upwards to the front, he's glancing over his shoulder deciding when to launch his full attack

Capar jumps to the left around Boonen while Boonen was busy looking over his shoulder at McEwen, Zabel, and Hushovd.

Hushovd crashed! It's not on camera as it occurred after he crossed the finish line. He has a bad very bad cut on his arm.

related articles: Tour de France 2006
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