Greipel takes fastest train to Rouen. Cav down, not out.

Greipel wins in Rouen.

 

Gorilla does good.

Andre Greipel, the Rostock Rocket, the Gorilla, the man with the monster thighs took the train to Rouen and arrived first.

The Lotto-Belisol train was superior to the Australian Orica Mining-GreenEdge squad of Matthew Goss who jumped late and failed to get closer than fourth. In between, an aging but experienced Alessandro Petacchi pulled out second and┬áTom Veelers — subbing for Marcel Kittle’s bad stomach — gets third.

“I’m so happy today. I am so happy to have those guys on my side, such strong riders to lead me out. This is what we wanted to reach today, winning a stage,” Greipel said at the finish. Winning is always good, winning in Tour, momentous.

┬áMissing in action on the nice flat sprinter-happy stage 4 was world road race champion Sky’s Mark Cavendish. The Manxman went down hard in a pileup with just over two kilometers to go and sat on the road looking stunned, helmet cracked and hopes gone.
Team manager David Brailsford put a gag order on Cavendish because expletives run high and loud right after a stage. Cavendish did tweet: “Ouch….. Crash at 2.5km to finish today. Taken some scuffs to my left side, but I’ve bounced pretty well again. Congrats to @andregreipel.”

The German sprinter skipped the intermediate sprint and it showed at the end. In textbook, HTC-Highroad style, Greipel’s squad had five guys up front with lead out man extraordinaire Greg Henderson providing the armchair ride until the final 200 meters. Gorilla hits front and nobody argued too much.

Liquigas-Cannondale’s Pete Sagan kept himself far ahead of Goss in the battle for the green jersey. The Fastvakian now leads the Aussie 147 points to 92. Goss, to use the Orica analogy, is going to have to dig a little deeper. Fabulous Fabian Cancellara arrived safe and sound and in yellow.

While Cavendish would eventually soft pedal across the line in 188th place, spare a thought for Garmin-Sharp’s sprinter Tyler Farrar who came in 185th. It’s been a hugely disappointing season so far for Farrah with no wins and consistent bad luck. Yesterday he went down in a crash and teammate Robbie Hunter, his only help in the sprints, has crashed several times already.

Farrar tried an experiment this year to see if he could become a classics rider. By his own admission, that attempt failed but the change in training robbed him of his top gear and he still hasn’t the turbo re-attached. So far the only good news for Garmin is that Ryder Hesjedal is still in good shape and riding strong.

 

 

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