2012 Tour de France-Stage 3

3 Jul

Remember how there were no crashes yesterday? Can’t say that today.

Today was the first stage of the Tour de France that was actually in France. It was a lumpy stage with several category 4 climbs and one category 3. The roads were narrow and a light rain fell the latter part of the race (when the racing begins in earnest) adding to the likelihood of crashes – especially during the first few stages.

There were 4 crashes today resulting in time gaps for many and in two riders having to abandon the race – Kanstansin Siutsou (Sky) and JJ Rojas (Movistar). In addition, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) suffered a separated shoulder; no decision has been made yet whether he will continue the race. Garmin-Sharp sprinter, Tyler Farrar was also caught in two of the crashes but didn’t suffer any significant injury. I think it’s a long shot for Danielson to start tomorrow. A separated shoulder would be difficult to ride with once the serious mountain stages start. If he does abandon it will be a big loss for GC hopeful, Ryder Hesjedal.

The man picked to win the Tour this year, Bradley Wiggins got caught up in the last crash just before the finish. He wasn’t injured apparently and didn’t incur any time loss. The loss of his teammate Siutsou will be a hardship on Wiggins and the team particularly during the 2nd and 3rd weeks. Losing any one of the 9 riders on a team makes the Tour that much more difficult on the others. Particularly for those with a serious contender for the yellow jersey.

Speaking of those, Cadel Evans (BMC) and his team seemed to escape unscathed. The team did a great job of keeping Evans at the front and out of trouble – very important – especially during the early stages when nerves are high.

In yesterday’s post I predicted Sylvan Chavanel (Quickstep) to win Stage 3. He didn’t, but he did try. He made a move with about 1 kilometer left, but didn’t have enough to finish and the peloton caught him.

One man had more than enough. A seriously powerful bike racer named Peter Sagan (Liquigas)! Did I say he was only 22… riding in his first tour… and has won 2 of the 3 stages thus far. The guy did the running man/Forest Gump after he crossed the finish line and didn’t even look winded. The photo shows the handful of riders that were racing for the win were winded… and they weren’t even really that close. Sagan is the real deal. He isn’t an overall GC type guy – yet – but who knows what his future holds.  He’s amazingly talented and I love to watch him win.

sagan-wins stage 3

Fabian Cancellara (Radio Shack-Nissan) retained the yellow jersey, Superman Sagan has the green jersey and a man that has managed to get himself into the break every day to collect the points for the climbs has the polka dot jersey – Michael Morkov (Saxobank).

Stage 4 is a (relatively) flat stage designed for the sprinters. A good part of it follows the coast of France which usually means crosswinds – which usually means splits in the peloton – which means the teams of the race favorites, BMC, Sky, Garmin, Liquigas and others will try to keep their guys up at the front.

It looks like another stage for Mark Cavendish, or maybe Andre Greipel (Lotto) or possibly Sagan. I think it will be Cavendish.

Stage 4 also is the official start of the Tour de France fantasy challenge. My team unless I make changes before midnight:

2012 Team

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