By Brecht Decaluwé in Saint-Brieuc
Results wise at least, the Tour de France is getting better and better for team Columbia rider Kim Kirchen. After finishing fourth in Plumelec on stage one, he now finished as runner-up in Saint-Brieuc, the same region where the Luxemburger was a runner-up four years ago on a stage to Quimper.
After being overhauled in the final metres of stage one by Alejandro Valverde, Kirchen adopted a different tactic on stage two, and just ran out of road trying to pass eventual winner Thor Hushovd. Kirchen was clearly disappointed and annoyed when he showed up at the team bus, and his mood didn't improve when he heard that he had to go back through the crowds to deliver a urine sample near to the finish line.
"There had been a crash and because of that I was coming from behind, but it's OK," he said. "The gap [on Valverde] was only one second, but there wasn't much I could do about that. Then again there was the green jersey which was within my reach, and today proved to be my lucky day for that."
Kirchen denied that the green jersey would become a serious objective for him, but as a rider who could easily grab points in the more mountainous stages, his priorities may change later in the race. "It's just great to have it and we'll see how it continues," he said.