The 2011 race
has been one of the most brutal in living memory and the body count on the
first rest day is as high as a scene from a John Wu-directed 'Nam war film.
It's not just
the 18 withdrawals we've had so far - it's the nature of these abandonments,
the severity of the injuries and the calibre of the riders involved.
We all know
you're not going to make an omelette without cracking a few eggs, and the idea
of a bicycle race without some nasty spills is unlikely as one devoid of a
doping scandal. But to see so many top riders out of the race before the
mountains have even begun is