I have never been asked to write an entry on a blog before, to meet a specific purpose, but last night I was requested to do so. A friend of mine was not able to catch the highlights of stage 3 of the Tour De France and I hope this entry goes some way to summarising the stage from the highlights I watched.
Stage 3 145.5-kilometer – Ajaccio to Corsica
This was the last stage on the island of Corsica which has been a very picturesque place with many lovely views and route along the coast. It is a great place for deep sea diving Carlton Kirby described, yesterday and its not too bad for cycling either.
The stage came down to a photo finish with Australian Simon Gerrans getting the wheel of his bike over the line just before that of green jersey chasing Peter Sagan, It was close, but it was the first stage win for Orica GreenEDGE in only their second season at pro tour level and the first for Gerrans since 2008. It also give the team something positive to think about after it was their bus which got stuck on the line on the first stage, which lead to a complete mess as the organisers moved the finish to the 3km mark and then back again.
The stage was billed as a stage hunters stage where anyone who could get over the small amount of lumps and bumps on the course of Cat 2, Cat 3, Cat 2 ans then a Cat 4 climb. At one point there was another Australian Steve Clarke (Orica GreenEDGE) who had made a bold attempt to take the polka dot jersey from Pierrie Rolland (Europcar) and was on course to achieve this. Unfortunately Rolland was able to chase him down with the help of Chavenal (OPQS) and retain the spots, and Clarke finished in the bunch. At one stage Chavenal was looking good for the stage victory but with 7km to go the escapees couldn’t hold on. On a personal note this would have been good for my fantasy cycling team but it was not to be. Maybe I don’t actually know anything about cycling with just 4 points from the first three stages. Once the escapees had been chased down it was only a matter of time before the sprinters fancied their changes of the stage win. Saying that the climbs had knocked out people like Cavendish (OPQS) and Griepal (Lotto) so it was a battle for the likes of Gerrans and Sagan with Gerrans taking the honours by the width of a tyre or so. The yellow jersey is still in the position of Jan Bakelants (Radioshack Leopard Trek)who holds a 1 second lead after his win on stage 2. Today could be his last day in yellow as there are more specialised team time trial squads out there.
The stage, as previously mentioned, was the last on the island and the first time the tour has come here in 100 years. Who knows if it will return, but it was certainly a good way to start the tour. On a personal note I feel the 2014 grand depart will mean alot more to us Brits as we start in Yorkshire and have three stages on UK soil. I can’t wait!
So last night the teams got onto their plans to fly into Nice for the 25km Team Time Trial later today. Lets hope Gerrant Thomas is slowly getting better after the fall on the first stage which has meant he has spend most of the time at the back of the peloton, nursing a small fracture in his pelvis. Gerrant you have certainly proved you are as hard as nails, but please don’t kill yourself.
Lets hope Team Sky have a good team time trial today and don’t lose any time over their rivals. Enjoy the highlights later or if you’re lucky enough the live action.