Goss, close but no cigar
HTC-Highroad sprinter Matt Goss began the Tour with lofty ambitions and on Thursday came very close to a dream start to his debut Tour de France, finishing a bike length behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling) on stage 6.
Goss, speaking to Fox Sports News Australia, explained that it was a case of "mixed emotions," following the stage.
"I felt really good and I just had to hesitate for a brief couple of seconds when [Gerald] Ciolek started to sprint,' he said. "When I got going I was coming a lot faster but I just run out of metres to the finish line so I'm disappointed but I still got second in a stage on my first Tour so I'm not too unhappy."
The next opportunity for Goss comes on Stage 10, between Aurillac and Carmaux – a short day and the race heads south through the Cevennes with the 24-year-old not ruling out standing on top of the podium.
"There's a few more stages like that so hopefully I can go one better somewhere along the way," he said with confidence.
Goss, who comes from Tasmania, said he felt quite comfortable in the cold and wet conditions, given they were similar to what he is used to back home.
"I actually don't mind these kinds of days – I guess you have to if you want to be decent in the Classics."
Keep on riding in the free world...
The weather hasn't been the nicest over the opening week of this year's Tour. For Garmin-Cervelo's David Zabriskie, the similarities between Neil Young's classic ‘See the sky about to rain' and the sixth stage into Lisieux proved too much.
"See the sky about to rain...broken clouds and rain...locomotive pull the train.whistle blown through my brain. -Neil Young describes stage6," Zabriskie tweeted on Thursday.
We're not sure if it was the weather or the train that did it...
Movistar minus one
The Tour's first casualty of the time cut has been decided, with Movistar's Vasil Kiryienka falling foul of the 98th edition's longest stage.
Kiryienka finished 27:55 back on the time of stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen, 15-and-a-half minutes back on the final group of around 20 riders, which included many of the riding-wounded from stage 5.
Hoogerland going spotty
Johnny Hoogerland of Vacansoleil-DCM is all spotty at the moment. He is not only wearing polka dots, bur riding on them too.
The Dutch rider claimed the King of the Mountains jersey – white with red dots – on Thursday, the first Dutchman to do so since Karsten Kroon in 2005. Bike supplier Ridley worked overtime to provide him with a matching polka-dot-decorated frame, which he will debut today.
Teammate Rob Ruijgh broke the news. “Fortunately Johnny's bike came through customs and can start today in France #TdF on the dotted bike from Ridley!” he tweeted this morning.
More Tricolour for Chavanel
Hoogerland isn't the only one with a specially-painted bike. French national road champion Sylvain Chavanel can look forward to bike matching his blue, white and red jersey on July 14, the French national holiday.
His carbon Merckx bike will sport the French tricolour as well, according to Het Nieuwsblad. The paint job will be done by Davide Meirhaeghe, brother of former mountainbike world champion Filip Meirhaeghe.
Motorbike driver regrets race exclusion
The driver of the motorbike that has been excluded from the race following an accident with Saxo Bank's Nicki Sörensen on Wednesday has shown deep regret of the situation, but also insisted that he had not been at fault.
Koen Haedens, working for the international photo agency Getty Images, was passing the peloton together with his photographer Michael Steel when the motorbike took down the Saxo Bank rider, dragging his bike along the road for several hundred metres.
"I am so relieved that the Danish champion did not get injured," Haedens told Het Nieuwsblad, explaining how it happened.
"I was not at fault. Following the sign of competition director Jean-François Pescheux, we went up the peloton with four motorbikes; I was the last of the quartet. I was driving on the very right side of the road, on the edge. I heard a crashing noise behind me. And again. There were crashes all day. I didn't brake, because that's dangerous when you have riders behind you. It was only a few hundred meters later that we realized we were dragging a bike behind us.
"I immediately ran back 300 metres but the rider was already gone. Most of all, I am relieved that Sörensen didn't get hurt. I've apologized to him and to his team manager Bjarne Riis."
The 43-year-old has been following his tenth Tour de France and thought that his complete exclusion was too much of a penalty. "I hope that ASO will still think it over," he said. But according to jury chairman Philippe Mariën the decision is final.