How did he DO that? Tour Stage 1 (updated)

Robbie McEwen was in a crash and injured his wrist about 20 km from the finish for Stage 1. With about 7 km left, he just reached the peloton — the massive group of cyclists jockeying for position. (Thanks to tdfblog’s story for fact-checking.)

McEwen is a consummate sprinter, so the race is only worthwhile if he’s in front of the peloton. In about four minutes, he and his team (Predictor-Lotto) had to get him through the almost one-hundred other riders in the Tour. Every one of those riders knew that, if McEwen were allowed to get through, he might beat the others’ teammates.

So I was astonished to see Robbie McEwen just burn past all his competitors in the last 200m of today’s race. Eurosport TV had an overhead view that made it look like all the other sprinters were dragging anchors. If you have about three minutes, take a look at the video on YouTube. The backstory is first, and the overhead view is toward the end of the clip.

In last year’s Tour, he won three stages with superhuman sprints like this one. But the commentators (and I) believed that he’d be exhausted from making his way back into — and then through — the peloton.

Guess not. That’s why I love following the Tour — every day brings you a new group of heroes.