Wednesday, August 23, 2006


In the background, Big George Hincapie is about to hit the pavement (photo credit AFP). The red jersey he's wearing is the leader's jersey of the Eneco Tour (formerly known as the Benelux Tour). The fellow in yellow is Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher, who started today's final stage a mere three seconds behind George in the general classification. It was Schumacher's rear wheel that sent George skidding. Schumacher finished second, grabbed a four-second time bonus and won the Tour. Hncapie protested, but the stewards concluded that Schumacher's vigorous cut across Hincapie's bow had been caused by a fan. In the end, it's a racing accident. Sure would have been nice to see George win, though, considering his miserable lap of France and all. Here's hoping George will be back in the European Peloton next year. For now, we'll see him next month at the USPRO Championships in Greenville, S.C.

Oh. The guy in the foreground? That's Phillipe Gilbert, who rode the lead group off his wheel with three kilometers to go hammering toward a brilliant stage win.

And now . . . it's Vuelta time!