The Australian outsprinted Spaniard Jose Rojas of Caisse d’Epargne to take his first tour victory on his native soil in the first stage raced in 2008. Cycling.tv broadcast only about 25 minutes of hilites, but here is a link to the official race complete report.

It wasn’t in real time but it certainly was good to see some actual racing again after these past three months of doping and political reports. I am sure all of us hope to avoid a season like last year’s that was filled with repeated, unpleasant interruptions.

Terry McEwen was seen living the true spirit of cycling, taking water bottles up to his teammates in the middle of a stage that almost certainly was going to end in a sprint. Team High Road was hilited by Phil and Paul during their coverage, but they did not play any major parts in the race or the finish today.

A three man break consiting of the Australian Team’s Richie Porte, Cofidis’ Mickael Buffaz, and Dimitri Champion from Bouygues Telecom stayed away for about 75 km and was brought back in about 8 km before the finish. I seem to recall Buffaz took maximun points with Champion finishing second at both of the intermediate sprints. Philippe Gilbert of Francaise Des Jeux won the King of the Mountain points on the one substantial climb of the day.

It sure is good to have the boys back on their bikes.