2. Why do Phil and Paul always give the "ride of the day" to the stage winner? Granted Sagan rode smart, but all he really had to do was sit on Cancellara's wheel for almost the entire final climb, saving energy, and come around in the final 150 meters. Cancellara, who launched the telling attack and did all the work, basically pulling Sagan to the finish, should have gotten "ride of the day."
3. As noted, Sagan is very smart, especially for such a young rider. No way he was going to help Cancellara in the last 1.5k. He was just sitting (in the catbird's seat, as it were) on the Swiss rider's wheel, biding his time, saving energy for the final sprint.
4. None of the presumptive GC contenders (Evans, Wiggo, Valverde, Hesjedal, et al.) were caught out of position on the final climb; they all finished with the same time.
5. Cancellara didn't get the stage win (which he arguably deserved, on some moral theory of bike racing), but his consolation prize was to keep the yellow jersey of race leader. With the profiles of upcoming stages, it seems likely he'll be able to hold onto it for most if not all of the coming week.
6. Philippe Gilbert must be terribly disappointed not to have won today's stage, so close to home and seemingly tailored made for his abilities.
7. Edvald Boassen-Hagan did a remarkable job bridging up to Cancellara and Sagan on the climb, but that effort left him with little energy to contest the final sprint. Still, he earned his third-place finish just ahead of the hard-charging peloton.
8. Writing over at PezCyclingNews, Lee Rodgers explains why Cancellara kept up his attack, even knowing that he was carrying Sagan to the win:
Because he could. I really believe itʼs as simple as that. He knew he would lose
the stage, knew the podium champagne for the win would go to another. But in that last kilometer, as his power held off the rampaging pack, he was not just riding a bike on a road in some hitherto unknown town in Belgium, but letting his peers know that he was ﬂying, showing the public that he was glorious, and letting the universe hear his name.
And thatʼs why heʼs Spartacus. Damn, somehow even when he loses he wins...
9. The new "Road I.D." commercials are very entertaining. Big George and Jensy are great. I haven't yet figured out who all of the riders are.