Alán Pérez ensured Euskaltel was in the thick of the action in today's first stage proper of the Tour de France. Alán jumped on the attack with Wynants and Boom immediately after the flag dropped, and the trio built up a maximum lead of almost eight minutes. Naturally the break was doomed from the start, but at least he grabbed quite a few sprint points underway and made sure the team sponsors got some valuable TV time. In the end it came down to the anticipated sprint finish, and, as per tradition in GT openers, the customary crashes. A few of the Euskaltel guys hit the deck, most notably JJ who hurt his right wrist but luckily didn't break it. Alas he'll be at the start tomorrow. In the crash-disrupted sprint Rubén showed himself well by taking a good ninth place. That's pretty good in such a high-quality field. Alan was pretty happy to have been out front all day, saying 'I'm satisfied with having been in the break. We worked well together, and you always have hope it can last. But it wasn't to be.' Samu was happy with the team's ride, and also said he was left exhausted after the stage. Not by fatigue, though, but by tension and stress. I guess that sums it up quite nicely. Everyone but Alán got the same time as winner Petacchi; Alan naturally feeling the strain of 200 kilometres out front and finishing 3:43 back.