Sunday, July 11, 2010
Stage 4: Cambrai to Reims
Bombs to windmills...
Cambrai-->Reims, 153.5k/95.2 miles, same distance as NYC to Philadelphia
Though the commentators mentioned that Cambrai was the coronation site of French kings for centuries, the name is associated for me with with a battlefield of the Great War. They're still digging up stuff.
Anyway, this being a flat stage with a flat finish at the end, it was a day for the sprinters. (I imagine it was also a day to recover from the cobblestones of yesterday.)
Though the terrain was flat, this was still a fun race to watch. Something that made it more interesting, was that of all the roads available in the flat areas of France, the TdF seems to take mostly backroads. This is something that isn't possible in the alpine stages, as many of the roads they take there are bigger, being the only road to get somewhere. Stages like this make me wonder just how many people live in the area, versus how many people travelled long distances to watch the race, like the ones in the photo below.
These few buildings pretty make up the entire town.
Mark Cavendish (GBR, HTC-Columbia) has won something like ten sprint-type finishes over the previous two TdF's. So, everyone expected him to win this one. Quite shockingly, Alessandro Pettachi (ITA, Lampre-Farnese) got the jump on Mark and pulled the victory out from under the younger guy. According to the commentators, Alessandro,(aka, "Ali Jet"), hasn't hasn't displayed this form or power in over five years. Evidently, the guy is back, as this was his second stage win.