Good day, bad day - stage 2

Does the fabulous press buffet in Namur gain more attention than Sheryl Crow? Read on...

Does the fabulous press buffet in Namur gain more attention than Sheryl Crow? Read on...
ALL PICTURES BY TIM DE WAELE Enjoying yourself in Belgium isn't always easy, none more so than when the collective nerves of the peloton are rawer than a plate of freshly butchered steak of tartare. Just ask Gianmatteo Fagnini, one of the many fallers on stage two between Charleroi and Namur... BAD DAY: Stuart O'Grady: Having seen team-mate Jimmy Casper treat the crowd to an impromptu, unintentional break-dance after his collision in the final sprint, Stuey's mood turned black when a chef from a nearby restaurant, clearly buoyed by an afternoon on the local brew, vociferously alluded to the troubled recent history of the Cofidis team. "**** off, you ****** ****!" is as faithful as a family website can be to O'Grady's exact words. Marks out of 10 - a big 9 for eloquence Alessandro Petacchi: Two days, two spurned opportunities and, worst of all, we haven't even seen Petacchi hit the accelerator yet. Holed up in the Fassa Bortolo battle bus to ponder his second day without a win, Petacchi emerged shortly after six tonight to face the press. "What annoys me most is that I haven't even been in a sprint yet. I've been blocked out twice as a result of the fact that the speed is too slow in the closing kilometres," he said. How to beat the fastest men in the world? Go a bit slower. Marks out of 10 - 3 for the wettest excuse so far Gianmatteo Fagnini: The self-proclaimed "best lead-out man in the peloton" had started the Tour hopeful of paving the way for Mario Cipollini's first Tour de France stage win since 1999. Fagnini hadn't contributed to a victorious Tour de France sprint since Erik Zabel held his arms aloft at Alenon in 2002. A fall after today ensured that he won't enjoy that winning feeling with Cipo this year, either, as Fagnini was forced to abandon the Tour just 156km into stage two. GOOD DAY: Sheryl Crow: Now a bona fide Tour big hitter in her own right, Sheryl turned up to the start in attire totally unsuitable for the 197km stage. Head-to-toe in black, blond locks an unruly cascade down her back, no helmet - what was she thinking of? Let's hope she gets with the programme in time for Wednesday's team time trial. Hang on - our cycling text books don't mention the palmares of any S. Crow.? You mean she's not even a rider!? Marks out of 10 - 10 for acting as a media decoy for the Lancester Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich: The Big Chief expertly dodged the crashes to arrive safely in the main bunch. Ullrich, otherwise known as the Big Kaiser, enjoyed a similarly trouble-free day. Both men should avoid disaster on the cobbles during stage three. The same can't be said of Roberto Heras, who punctured in the final 10 kilometres today and was breathless on the line after a frantic chase to rejoin the bunch. Marks out of 10 - high scores for anonymity Press Buffet: Excellent performance by the good people of Namur who ensured that even a visit from the King of Belgium (that's Albert, not Eddy, although the new-look slim-line Cannibal was in attendance) to the scrum in the Tour press room couldn't distract the media from the enormous spread of local delicacies. Marks out of 10 - 11 for quantity, if not quality
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