As a fan, for me today was a great stage in the Tour … the cobbles split the field and re-arranged the overall standings (GC) in a way that I'd hoped they would. The result was also great as I felt Thor Hushovd was effectively robbed of a bunch of points in the Green jersey (sprinters) competition yesterat after Saxobank and Cancellara engineered the nullification of the sprint (something I didn't agree with). Thor's win gave him the green jersey but I still hope that the loss of about 20 points yesterday won't affect the final standings in Paris – time will tell.
It was also great to see Cancellara back in yellow after sacrificing it yesterday to support his team mates, although I do feel a bit sorry for Chavanel. It was also excellent to see Geraint Thomas doing so well (White Jersey for the best young rider) and Bradley Wiggins too.
For the sake of the overall race it was also good to see Lance and Alberto both lose some time – this will only make the race better in the coming weeks – especially once we get to the mountains. For Cadel Evans, he now has the pressure of being highest placed of the favourites – so good luck with that … in years gone by I'd have been worried for Cadel now – but he's been on great form since winning the world championship – so you never know.
I do feel very sorry for Frank Schleck as I think most fans wanted the kind of result we've got but not at the expense of someone breaking bones and withdrawing – so get well soon Frank and bad luck.
The organisers will probably take a lot of flack over today's stage (Jens Voigt is already angrily complaining about it in the press) – but I think they were right to include it – there needs to be an element of frisson in the Tour, something a bit gladitorial and sometimes someone may get hurt. In fairness any of us can get hurt everytime we go out on our bikes on the road. Speed/racing/cycling inherently has some danger and I think it's all the better for it. Personally I don't think the stage was too dangerous – Frank Schleck was simply unlucky today and that's a shame for him and for us as the fans. As Lance Armstrong himself said after the race today – sometimes you're the hammer and sometimes you're the nail. Today Lance said it was his turn to be the nail – as it was for Frank.
It was a great spectacle and to me, it's chapeau to the organisers for making the race more exciting.