2010 Tour de France – Stage 3 Wrap-up

2010 Tour de France - Hushovd Wins Stage 3

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Things have a funny way of working themselves out, don’t they?  As expected, the Tour’s trip over the pave of Belgium and Northern France produced the most dramatic and chaotic Tour de France stage since…yesterday. Let’s take a look:

2010 Tour de France - Cancellara on the Pavé in Stage 3

Fotoreporter Sirotti

1. We begin with Saxo Bank.  Hopefully, any lingering conspiracy theories as to the team’s tactics yesterday have now been put to rest—clearly there can be no one questioning Fabian Cancellara’s willingness and ability to race aggressively after today’s performance.  Cancellara took the race by the throat when it hit Secteur 4 at Sars-et-Rosieres and never looked back, leaving several contenders in his wake—but taking Andy Schleck with him.

While Cancellara reclaimed the yellow jersey and Andy Schleck jumped back up the GC, Saxo Bank might have lost the war with the crash and withdrawl of Frank Schleck, Andy’s brother and lieutenant.  When the race hits the mountains, Frank’s presence will be dearly missed, especially as many of Scjhelck’s main competitors have teams built for uphill depth.  It’s time for Jakob Fuglsang to earn that big contract he’s been talking about.

Worse still, Saxo Bank now has the burden of the yellow jersey, and with several flat days before the race hits the Alps, they will be the first team looked upon to control the race.  If they’re smart, they lose that jersey—and soon.  You made your point, Spartacus, now get back to the matter at hand—there’s still a Tour to win.

2. And for those of you who felt the world was an unjust place after Stage 2, Thor Hushovd got his stage win (on the pave) and the green jersey to boot.  While there’s still a lot of racing left, Thor’s already built a solid lead in the green jersey competition—look for him to keep his jersey to Paris.

3. As for the rest, Cadel Evans rode brilliantly today, coming in with the leaders to vault himself up to third-place on GC. With a nice cushion over his rivals and several days to recover before the Alps, does Evans have something special up his rainbow sleeve?

2010 Tour de France - Contador on the Pavé in Stage 3

Fotoreporter Sirotti

4. Alexandre Vinokourov and Alberto Contador also rode brilliantly today.  Contador was especially deft at riding the cobbles, looking smooth and confident whenever the camera caught him—far from what many of use expected before the day began.  As for the Vino riding away from his “captain” at the line?  Well, Contador seems to have flatted while Vino was driving the group.  I’ll give Vino the benefit of the doubt—this time—for he might not have known his teammate was losing air.

5. How about Jurgen Van den Broeck?  After a solid ride with the second group of favorites today, he’s now comfortably sitting in ninth-place overall, tied on time with Nicholas Roche.  Will these two youngsters give their nations reason to cheer over the coming weeks?

6. Rabobank’s Denis Menchov is quietly creeping up the GC, finishing with the second group, 53-seconds behind the leaders.  He and Bradley Wiggins rode themselves up to 13th and 14th place overall.  Funny what a day can do in the Tour.

2010 Tour de France - Armstrong on the Pavé in Stage 3

Fotoreporter Sirotti

7. As for Lance Armstrong, his run of Tour luck seems to have run its course.  He flatted at the worst possible time, losing 2:08 on the day.  He now sits 18th on GC—over a minute behind Andy Schleck and 50-seconds behind rival Contador.  On a day when many of us felt Lance would gain time on his younger, fitter rivals, this does not bode well for the veteran’s chances.

8. Other “losers” on the road to Arenberg? Samuel Sanchez finished with Armstrong’s group, while Ivan Basso, Micheal Rogers, Robert Gesink, Carlos Sastre, Levi Leipheimer, and Tony Martin all finished with next bunch at 2:25.  For these men, the Tour is far from lost, but they didn’t do themselves any favors.  Basso put him himself in a especially precarious position, as his co-captain Roman Kreuziger finished two groups ahead and now sits 16th overall—almost a minute ahead of his teammate.

By the end of the day, the “Virtual* GC” looks like this:

1.  Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank             14:54:00**

2.  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team             0:00:39

3.  Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank             0:01:09

4.  Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana             0:01:31

5.  Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana             0:01:40

6.  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto             0:01:42

7.  Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale

8.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank             0:01:49

9.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team

10.  Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo             0:02:24

11.  Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne             0:02:25

12.  Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack             0:02:30

13.  Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC – Columbia

14.  Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack             0:02:53

15.  Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank             0:02:58

16.  Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack             0:03:00

17.  Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia

18.  Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack             0:03:01

19.  Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi             0:03:04

20.  Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha

21.  Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team HTC – Columbia             0:03:06

22.  Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux             0:03:12

23.  Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank             0:03:16

24.  Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team             0:03:19

25.  Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo             0:03:20

*These are riders who are generally considered to be the top-GC men for their respective teams.

**Cancellara’s not a GC-contender, but the math’s easier with him in the ranking.

Overall, these are time gaps we might usually expect to see after our first foray in the mountains, or maybe after a long individual time trial—not after the third road stage of the Tour.

And by the way, I’d like to point-out that all seems back to where it would have been had yesterday’s events gone the way so many think they should have: Cancellara’s in yellow, Hushovd has a Viking’s grip on the green jersey, and one of the Schleck’s is out of the race.

Like the dust, sweat, and blood from a long day on the pavé, things always seem to have a way of coming-out in the wash.

Share your thoughts below.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
This entry was posted in Races and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 2010 Tour de France – Stage 3 Wrap-up

  1. cthulhu says:

    3km-rule does apply not only to crashes but to mechanicals too, so vino could really been having working for contador although it looked differently

    • Whit says:

      I think we need to lay-off Vino–this time. If he does it again, then we have another story on our hands.

  2. Henry says:

    The double team of Andy and Frank in the mountains is gone. The idea of a dominant team RS is gone -Vino was there with AC and Fabian was parting the seas for Andy, where were Kloden and Levi when LA needed them? Popo did yeoman work but another rider or two would have made the difference.

    Cadel is looking fantastic.Probably lots of surprises coming from that list of contenders several of whom have been off the radar leading into the race. With so many incredible stories to tell to bad Versus has tried to dumb this down to a Lance versus Contador soap opera.

    Your live blogging is so much more entertaining.

  3. BuckeyeRacer says:

    Interesting how Cancellara wanted to hold the whole race up on Stage 2 when Andy was down and in a spot of trouble, yet on Stage 3, it’s every man for himself and Andy suddenly is back in contention. Conditions are what they are and everyone has to deal with them. No race should be stopped by anyone other than the officials. To me, it calls to question what Cancellara’s intentions REALLY were on Monday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *