Native Son Takes Belgian Stage in Tour

Steegmans earns second-leg victory at home
By Joseph Fasano,  Newser User
Posted Jul 10, 2007 5:07 AM CDT
Gert Steegmans of Belgium, right, looks at his compatriot, Tom Boonen, after crossing the finish line to win the second stage of the 94th Tour de France cycling race between Dunkirk, France, and Ghent,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Belgian Gert Steegmans pedaled to an easy victory in Stage 2 of this year's Tour, crossing the finish line in Gand, Belgium, in just over 3 hours and 48 minutes. Most weren't so lucky: The 104.7 mile trek captured much of the peleton—including yellow-jersey holder Fabian Cancellara—in a pile-up crash just over a mile from the finish.

Steegmans, who usually plays setup man for teammate Tom Boonen, got a taste of life on the podium with yesterday's victory. "All year he does work for me. I wasn't going to pass him on the line," Boonen said. The leader board remained largely unchanged; Tour rules required the pile-up crashers be given the same stage times. (Read more Tour de France stories.)