Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tour De France: Stage 3

This is one of the most unusual Tour De France's I've followed.  The prologue created serious time gaps, something that never happens.  Then we had the crazy crash filled day yesterday, and now a cobbled stage, that completely shook up the race. 

Lance's luck ran out today.  He punctured at the worse possible time.  I think the luck today went to Cadel Evans.  He is essentially being ignored this year as a contender, but suddenly he is the best placed of the bunch.  On top of that Andy Schleck lost his right arm Frank Schleck in a horrible crash today.  Alberto Contador now will have to fight with Alexander Vinokurov for control of his team, something we all saw coming when Vino came back.  And Lance will have to get his time back in the mountains, something no one is quite sure he can still do.  Yes Evans looks to be perfectly positioned to pull off a huge upset for the overall. 

Another rider who has quietly moved into a dangerous position is Denis Menchov.  Like Evans he has been ignored so far, but he could turn out to be very dangerous indeed.  He thrives on stage races where there is no clear leader of the pack and that is what is happening in this Tour.  This really is turning into a very odd Tour.

We go back to simple flat stages now for a few days, time for the everyone to recover, but the mountains come this weekend and we'll know then who the real contenders are.  If Armstrong and Contador follow form they will look to put some time into their rivals at their first chance, so this weekend will be very interesting.

Other notes here.  Thor Hushovd got the win he wanted and now has the points lead.  He will need to stay close to Mark Cavendish the rest of this week.  That will be the big story the next few days.  Also poor Sylvain Chavenel lost all his luck today puncturing twice inside the last 30km.  That was too much for him to overcome and so he lost his yellow jersey.

General classification after stage 3
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 14:54:00  
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:23  
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39  
4 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions 0:00:46  
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 0:01:01  
6 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:09  
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 0:01:19  
8 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0:01:31  
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:01:40  
10 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:42  

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