I thought it unlikely that there’d be too much to report about today’s stage — Stage 1 is usually not the most exciting. There was the usual jockeying for sprinting points and for the stage win, of course. George Hincapie got a two second time bonus in the middle of the stage for being third on one of the sprints, though, which moved him from 0.73 seconds behind Thor Hushovd after yesterday’s Prologue time trial to ahead by a second plus, putting him in the yellow jersey that indicates the current Tour leader. Things are looking good for Team Discovery again, even without Lance.
Within sight of the finish for the stage, something happened to Thor Hushovd’s right arm. He was riding near the spectators at the edge of the course, trying to angle for position enough to get a time bonus on the finish so he could keep his yellow jersey (unlikely to happen but worth a try). It’s theorized by the commentators that a big cardboard hand thingie some spectator was holding hit his arm as he went by at something like 50kph. Nobody really noticed right away, as he hauled himself across the finish line along with all the other people pushing for a top spot in the stage finish, but not long thereafter there was footage being showed of him lying on the ground, blood all over his right arm, being tended by paramedics and team support personnel and the like. I’ve read in one account that he was actually carted away in an ambulance, and he’ll likely have some serious stitching on his arm tomorrow — whether he comes back to the Tour tomorrow or not.
Every year, at least one stupid fan does something to screw a Tour competitor. It’s pretty annoying to watch this sort of thing happen.