Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch: Stage 2

Stapleton, Cancellara, crashing Aussies, PMU hands, Shack, Holz

The last of the surprises?

Asked to comment on vague rumours of a peloton protest on stage 3, HTC-Columbia chief Bob Stapleton said this morning he'd be "shocked" to see a go-slow over the cobbles on Tuesday. In light of today's débâcle, we're giving Bob until breakfast time to change his mind.

Never was a motor, UCI prez says

Given the controversy surrounding the Swiss Time Lord's unproven disposition towards motorised transport of recent, it took a brave sub-editor to use the headline "Cancellara motors to victory" last Saturday. Despite explaining the need to X-ray 14 time trial bikes used in the prologue – all passing the test, mind you – the UCI prez is convinced motorised machines in professional cycling never existed in the first place, regardless of the much-viewed YouTube clip.

"I honestly don't believe that there has ever been a motorised bike in the peloton because the technology is not there yet to do it secretly," McQuaid told Juliet Macur of the New York Times, adding the battery would not fit inside the bike.

Aussie journo buckles under pressure

Dramatic stories unfold in the Tour de France centre de presse on an almost daily basis. But one that sends a journalist toppling to the floor? Approximately 7 p.m. Sunday evening in Brussels, that's exactly what happened to the Sydney Morning Herald's Rupert Guinness, when the affable Australian added another spill to what was already a crash-marred day, as the legs from his chair buckled underneath his 86 kilos snapped off, and in one fell swoop, brought him crashing down. Bruised but alive, ‘Rupe' received a round of cheers from his peers, and to use the words of cycling commentator Phil Liggett, lived to fight another day.

PMU Scissorhands no more

The green cardboard PMU hands that famously sliced open Thor Hushovd's arm at the end of the second stage of the 2006 Tour de France resulted in organisers immediately banning their use in the final two kilometres of flat stages. Four years on and somewhat refined, the once innocuous-turned-lethal hands are now smaller and made of more forgiving sponge-like material, allowing them to flap about without any unnecessary slicing and dicing.

Battle of the bodyguards

RadioShack isn't the only team to engage the services of burly bouncers to fend off the unwanted, but they certainly offer the greatest employment opportunities. At the start of the second stage in Brussels' Place des Palais, Procycling spotted not one, not two, not three, but four tough men around The Shack compound.

When double entendre means double jeopardy

France's impeccably coiffured "voix du vélo" Gerard Holz paid the price for a risqué double entendre during France 2's coverage of stage one on Monday. "I've never seen so many sons of Putte," chortled Holz in reference to the crowds massed either side of the Putte village streets, knowing full well that "fils de Putte", pronounced à la française, means something strictly for post-watershed consumption. Holz later issued an official apology before consoling himself with a bucket of moules – closely observed from an adjacent restaurant table by a disapproving Procycling.

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