Shit I couldn't believe it, I was following the race on the net and I heard that it had started to rain. On any road stage racing on wet roads can be tricky, on a TT or Prologue course it can be treacherous. Add into the mix that it was on the roads of the Netherlands, famed (and often quoted in the Classics) as having more street furniture than Ikea. This was going to mess up a few peoples rides, as some riders just don't like riding in the wet. Brad Wiggins had opted to go early in the day swaping places with Flecha (which in hindsight was a bad move). The weather forecast had been brewing and was predicting rain, but having ridden in Belgium a few times I am constantly amazed how the morning can be an absolute shitter lashing it down with rain and then the afternoon baked in glorious sunshine.
I'm not going to bring a full synopsis on the race, there are better people out there to do that, and from what I am reading on Twitter the Eurosport Team seem to have had it nailed yesterday. I was following Phil Sheehan posts as he is a producer on Five Live (http://twitter.com/5livecycling), he's also a bike racer and a bit of a Tech geek for his road stuff so where many producers may miss something he also has a fans eye on the Tour. And for the record Phil, I'll pinch some photos that you tweet up (hope that's ok).
So who are the winners and losers today. For sure Fabian, and for me it was important for him to quash the rumours of mechanical doping, which is funny as nobody throws the PED's accusation at him, so a more complicated theory had to be created. With Armstrong bagging a few (5) vital seconds over Contador the first battle in the war has been won. Many commentators are saying that these could be vital, I'm not so convinced unless the next three days through the Benelux throws up a mistral. As we have seen before that Mr Contador isn't too good in these situations, whereas ALL other GC riders will have some riders who can look after them. Brad's placing is certainly a bind and will make the journey from 4th place last year to podium place this year a bit more of a challenge and he'll (and SKY) will need to take it on the chin. A gap of 52 seconds to Armstrong is a mountain to climb, but it's day one and with 23 days of racing left there is a lot of kilometres left to make up the time (I hope).