Stage 2: Obernai - Esch-sur-Alzette

McEwen took the stage win as the field frantically tried to catch a late breakaway by T-Mobile rider Mattias Kessler. There was a crash in the peloton with 2km to go that threw things in the field into chaos and it seemed that Kessler would be able to hold them off, but with 250m to go the field finally caught him and Robbie McEwen charged up through to take the win.

Thor Hushovd should be very happy even though he lost the sprint and pulled his foot out of his pedal in the process -- the time bonuses he picked up earlier in the day were more than enough to take the yellow jersey back from Hincapie. Hincapie did his best to stay up front on the wheels of the sprinters, but either he didn't have the legs to compete with the sprint specialists or he was choosing wisely not to get so involved in such risky business. It's probably the latter, especially with the many sprint stages left before the first time trial.

The long break on the day was by Hernandez and de la Fuente, who fought back and forth at the various KOM points along the route. Hernandez eventually cracked, which left de la Fuente in the position to take the KOM jersey away from Fabian Wegmann. Wegmann bridged up to De la Fuente at the end to take back some points, but de la Fuente racked up enough points to stay two points ahead of Wegmann.

The coming sprint stages should be very interesting with Hushovd in first, Boonen in second, and McEwen in third. There's a lot of incentive to take every little time bonus; Boonen will be racing to get that yellow jersey by the time the route hits Belgium and McEwen may be wanting another yellow to go with his greens.

Prediction check: * Prediction: Boonen first, McEwen second * Result: McEwen first, Boonen second


TiVo-delayed 'live' log

Prediction: I'll repeat my pick from yesterday, Boonen 1st, McEwen 2nd. Yesterday had a bit of ugliness ending the sprint: Boonen and McEwen apparently got hit by a bag of water thrown by a fan; Hushovd's was sliced open by a PMU green hand.

Luxembourg gets to be on the Tour map this year. It is a very hot road to Luxembourg, though, with temperatures reaching up to 122 degrees.

Danilo Di Luca is out of the race with a fever.

Hernandez and De la Fuente went on the attack at the 1st km and started going for KOM points, which were won by Hernandez. Boonen went for some of the remaining sprint bonuses and has moved into the top ten with a 2-second bonus.

The peloton has pulled the break to be back within 8 minutes from a high of about 13 minutes.

OLN seems to not have noticed that they are broadcasting footage of a piss break in the peloton.

The sprint teams each have a rider up front setting tempo, but the breakaway seems to be crumbling on its own. The lead is down to 6:35

And another rider piss break going into commercial break

Now down to 5:10 with less than 40 miles to go

Yellow jersey moment 1: QuickStep, Credit Agricole, and Lotto are all tried to setup their respective riders for the 3rd-place 2-second sprint bonus. Hincapie also sat in there. Boonen had a good lead out in second spot but went too soon -- Thor Hushovd sat on Boonen's wheel and came around to take the 2-second bonus. That puts Hushovd back ahead of Hincapie.

The lead has collapsed to 2:25 with 33 mi to go.. and built back up to 3:35 with 29 mi to go

de La Fuente got the KOM points this time.

Hernandez has cracked and will be caught by the peloton soon.

Yellow jersey moment 2: The peloton is starting to line itself up for the sprint bonuses. Hincapie is currently in seventh position. They might not be able to swallow up Hernandez before he grabs the second-place sprint bonus. They've caught Hernandez so it will be a race for a 4-second bonus. Hincapie couldn't hold on. Boonen took the 4-second bonus, Hushovd took two seconds. O'Grady very nealry took Hushovd's bonus.

KOM moment 1: 10mi to go and de la Fuente is within sight of the peloton at 0:50 ahead. He's trying to survive to the KOM point to get the KOM jersey away from Wegmann. de la Feunte took the KOM point, which put him into the KOM lead. Wegmann attacked from the peloton to take second place at the KOM point.

Wegmann and two other riders have continued their attack past the KOM point.

There was a small crash near the back of the peloton. Jose Angel Gomez of Saunier Duval and one ofhis teammates as well as some other riders.

KOM moment 2: Wegmann is now attacking on the next climb. He passed De la Fuente and takes the final KOM points. It's not enough to take back the lead, but keeps him close.

Jimmy Caspar, riding in the green jersey, has fallen off the back.

The breakaway riders except for Wegmann have been swept up. I"ve seen Wegmann win before, he might be able to hold off the sprinter teams, but it will be difficult -- they're probably unhappy from yesterday still. He's only ten seconds ahead and you can see the peloton right over his shoulder. Wegmann's only hope is that the little climbs might help, but no, he's been caught.

Hincapie is riding near the front with a single teammate to help out.

An ag2r rider (Calzatti) has atacked. A Gerolsteiner (Kopp) and T-Mobile rider (Kessler) have now attacked and the T-Mobile rider (Kessler) is now getting a gap on the field as the other riders have been caught.

5km to go. Kessler has ten seconds on the field.

2km and Kessler's lead is now fourteen seconds. There was a crash in the peloton at 2km to go. It won't affect anyone's time but someone may be hurt.

Kessler is barely holding onto this. 500m to go and the field is nipping at his heels.

250m to go, they're catching Kessler.

Robbie McEwen takes it on the line! A messy finish always helps a crafty rider like McEwen.

Hushovd's foot came out of the pedal after colliding with McEwen's wheel. Hushovd pointed an angry finger at McEwen but later, after reviewing the video, said that McEwen did nothing wrong.

It didn't matter too much as Hushovd got back the big prize on the day: another yellow jersey.

related articles: Tour de France 2006
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