Third win for McEwen
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) is not failing his winning ways this year at the Tour. With the help of powerhouse Gert Steegmans, the Australian sprinter took his third stage today in Vitré, in front of Daniele Bennati (Lampre) and Tom Boonen (Quickstep), whose smile on the podium, even wearing the Yellow jersey, is looking more and more strained.
"Last year, I won three stages too, but after 13 stages of the Tour," said McEwen after the stage. "This year, it's three stages right in the first week! It's fantastic! I never would have dreamed about winning three stages after six days!"
The 189 km-stage began in an unusual fashion as a 17-man breakaway containing Tom Boonen and Thor Hushovd formed after 50 kilometres of racing - but Davitamon-Lotto, Lampre and Team CSC then worked together to catch it 25 kilometres later. However, from this group emerged Magnus Bäckstedt (Liquigas), Florent Brard (Caisse d'Epargne) and Anthony Geslin (Bouygues), who subsequently increased their lead to a maximum of just under five minutes.
But as usual in these first flat stages of the Tour, the break got reeled in and swallowed with four kilometres to go. And McEwen outsmarted his rivals, once again.