By John Trevorrow in Gent, Belgium
Stuart O'Grady is still feeling the effects of his Prologue crash on Saturday after another tough day at the office. The Australian had been setting a blistering speed in London when he clipped a barrier and fell to the ground, a mistake he's still paying for.
"It never rains but it pours - what a day," said O'Grady. :"I'm still pretty sore and I was hoping to get a day where I could get a bit of recovery in. But it was never going to happen on a day like today. With the technical route and the wet roads, we decided that we needed to be up the front, the problem was most of the other teams thought the same.
"The conditions were harder than Chinese algebra," he continued. "It was a very stressful stage and then to lose three guys in the finale made it even worse. Luckily they're not too bad and Fabio has got another day in yellow. As Leonard Cohen wrote, "I'm aching in the places where I used to play". I'm feeling sore in muscles I didn't even know I had!"
O'Grady, who became the first Australian Paris-Roubaix victor in April, is hoping to fully recover from his Saturday tumble before the Grand Tour hits the first mountain stage this Saturday. While he's hoping for some time to recover, O'Grady knows today's Stage 3 will be just as tough as yesterday's crash-marred stage.
"You would think a day on the flat with the sprinters teams controlling the race would make life pretty easy? Not in Belgium," he said. "With the narrow roads and tight corners, mixed with a deluge from above and you have the recipe for disaster.
"There is no doubt the tour just gets faster and more riders are trying to get up the front these days," he concluded. "It just makes for stress, stress, stress."