Any doubts that Lance wasn't serious about his comeback were dispelled on Tuesday(well, Wednesday Australian time) when the 130+ riders contested the Tour Down Under's second hardest stage. On paper, the race as a whole looks pretty tame, but the speeds have been high and the temperatures even higher creating a real baptism by fire for Lance 3.0.
Lance didn't win the stage. Lance didn't even contest the sprint. However, with about 15 miles to go, Lance, being Lance, took a dig and broke away. It was a moment when the race was on the verge of completely disintegrating demonstrating that the Texan can still read a race (and probably listen to Bruyneel on the radio) and time an attack to have maximum benefit.
If the stage had been a tad bit harder, my guess is that Lance would have had a better chance of staying away. As it was, the sprinter's teams were just able to smell the finish line so it all came together and a bunch gallop to the line ensued. Yeah, yeah, yeah, but we got to see Armstrong once again off the front in a pro race. That was definitely worth it, even if a former Discovery Channel rider not named Lance ended up winning the stage. Kudos to Allan Davis.
Also worth mentioning is that the back half of the field did lose contact before the finish. Lance made the split to the front group, once again showing that he is pretty darn fit as well as being motivated.
OK, the Tour Down Under is not all about Lance. Besides Team Astana there are 17 other ProTour teams and the like of Team Columbia, Rabobank, Quick Step, Garmin-Slipstream, Lotto, Saxo Bank, Euskatel/Euskadi and Katusha have all shown themselves at the front. Good on ya, all!