Is the absorbant panel just on the back...
Is the absorbant panel just on the back of the thumb, or does it go up the back of the first finger too?
Yes, the absorbent panel also goes up the back of the index finger. On Gore's site they say the back of the glove is like this, but the pic's show otherwise. You can get a good close up view on Competitivecyclist.com., and a pretty good view on Goreapparel.com.
Hope this still helps.