Results tagged “Stage 3” from spare cycles

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SAAB Fly to the Finish Codes: Aerodynamic, Sportcombi

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letour.jpgCofidis' Dumoulin took the stage, Agritubel's Feillu the yellow jersey, and Garmin-Chipotle's Frishkorn some podium respect as a breakaway went from start to finish with over two minutes on the pack. Dumoulin attacked with a kilometer to go, Frishkorn followed, Feillu countered, and Dumoulin countered the counter. As a fan of Frishkorn's diaries on VeloNews, I hoped he could cross the line first instead of second, but any podium spot is spectacular. Frishkorn's face was a mixture of disappointment and joy after the race. You have to appreciate the excitement of Jonathan Vaughters, who posted this to Twitter during the race when it became clear the break would win:

Willy is going to make it!!! Now can he win??? Mass confusion behind, crashes, wind... Le Guerre!!! JV

Le Guerre indeed -- today was supposed to be the first proper sprint stage, but crashes and winds were thrown into the mix and changed everything. A crash as the peloton split around a median ended up splitting the peloton into three, sending white jersey Ricco and Menchov into the second group. Saunier Duval and Rabobank worked hard to bring their riders back, but Quick Step and Liquigas were busy putting the hammer down in the tailwind.

Robbie McEwen took the field sprint over Erik Zabel at 2:03 back. It was another half a minute to the Menchov/Ricco group and even longer to the peloton. The crash cost many riders, though none more than Jose Angel Gomez, who hit the deck with another big crash (see Flanders).

The chaos of a stage wouldn't be complete without protests. Christian Prudhomme was able to negotiate a hole in a large group of protesters blocking the road just in time for the breakaway to just scoot past. Bernard Hinault handled a protester on the podium less diplomatically, giving him a good shove off the stage.

Photos: Mt Hamilton

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Lead Group - (c) Ken Conley
Photos by Ken Conley

Grupetto on Mount Hamilton - (c) Ken Conley

Chechu lead a group of Leipheimer, Gesink, Zabriskie, Millar, Horner, and others, Cancellara and Voigt chased close behind, and The Rock Racing Three (Hamilton, Botero and Sevilla) rode ten minutes up the road. The fog rolled in and out, chunks of snow were present, and I bumped my focus settings and botched a shot that I spent 2 hours waiting for -- Photoshop to the rescue!

Levi Leipheimer - (c) Ken Conley Robert Gesink - (c) Ken Conley Fabian Cancellara - (c) Ken Conley Rock Racing - (c) Ken Conley Tom Danielson - (c) Ken Conley Scott Nydam - (c) Ken Conley

Gesink Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Stage 3 Photo Gallery

Mount Hamilton was a big addition to today's stage, but the results were eerily familar -- so much so that Fritz of Cyclelicio.us was able to pull one of my 2007 photos for his stage 3 summary. Last year it was Levi, Voigt, and Gesink over the top of Sierra Road. The trio survived and Voigt easily took the sprint. This time around, Levi and Gesink were lucky to leave Voigt behind and negotiate a rider's agreement: Gesink took the stage, Levi the overall lead. From comments Leipheimer made after the stage, it sounds like Astana and Rabobank had worked this possibility out the night before.

With Farrar being a sprinter, it was well expected that the overall lead would be up for grabs. This came sooner than expected, however, as Farrar dropped out with a stomach bug. Farrar had hoped to transfer the jersey to Danielson, but Danielson was already far behind on the Mount Hamilton climb. Millar and Zabriskie had good rides and are both within striking distance to take the lead at the Solvang time trial. Fabian Cancellara also rode in with Millar and Zabriskie and sits in a close second at 13 seconds back.

Mario Cipollini - (c) Ken Conley Scott Nydam - (c) Ken Conley Gesink Podium - (c) Ken Conley Gesink Podium - (c) Ken Conley Gesink Podium - (c) Ken Conley George Hincapie - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 3 Photo Gallery

Tour de France '07 Stage 3 Link Roundup

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Bookends: Cancellara and Zabriskie

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Fabian Cancellara starting Zabriskie Warming Up-1

CSC's Time Trial Titans are now Tour de France bookends: Cancellara took the stage win in amazing fashion and Zabriskie soft-pedaled into the last place. Apparently he gets DZ gets apples. Fabian's prize might be better. He'll need to lose a lot more time to take the Lanterne Rouge from Kuchynsky

Update: to quote Vande Velde:

Jens was laughing the other day, commenting on how the first three guys who had to work on the first stage would be team captains on any other team. Jens, Stuey and Dave Z had to work first and God bless anyone trying to get away with those guys pulling behind them.

Cancellara Wins - DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

One of the most boring stages became one of the most exciting as Fabian Cancellara blazed to victory in his yellow jersey. It nearly appeared that the breakaway would stay away as it still had a 0:20 advantage with 1.4k to go. As the peloton massed behind a breakaway on the final cobbled stretch, it was Cancellara in his bright yellow jersey jumped across the gap, past the breakaway, and solo'd to victory as the sprinter's nipped at his heels. That's a yellow jersey. Cancellara becomes the first rider to hit the two-win mark of this Tour.

The longest stage allowed for a really long break: Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel) and Mathieu Ladagnous (FD Jeux) went at 5k and were joined by Stephane Auge (Cofidis) and Frederik Willems (Liquigas), who jumped with 58k to go. The peloton seemed to be riding in 'recovery' mode, doing little to reel in the break other than keep it at a containable distance: when the break slowed down, the peloton slowed down, and vice versa. It became a real stage with around 30k to go as the sprint teams started putting in an earnest effort to bring things back. The break last for about 231k as Cancellara caught them with half a kilometer to go.

Auge can celebrate his breakaway effort: he was able to take the KOM polka dots from David Millar. Boonen gained some points in the green jersey competition over McEwen.

Post Stage 3 Analysis

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Three stages and a prologue done have told us a little bit more about how things are shaping up. We have yet to hit the first time trial or mountain stage to really shake things up, but the prologue and today's classics-style stage have allowed the contenders to rise up a bit; they also provided enough time for the early Tour-jitter crashes to do their damage:

  • Valverde (collarbone): overall favorite according to the bookies.
  • Rodriguez (collarbone): McEwen's leadout man. Robbie can grab anyone's wheel, but this could tip a stage or two Boonen's way.
  • O'Grady: Has worn the yellow and green jerseys and has two stage wins. He was within easy striking distance of another yellow jersey.
  • Dekker (collarbone and face): Four Tour stage wins, certainly a big loss for Rabobank
  • Horner (not out, but injured hand): It looks like Horner will continue on, but after thinking he broke his hand, who knows what this will do to Horner's breakaway potential.

Depending on your definition of 'contender', either all the major contenders made it up the Cauberg climb in the same group or a couple (Mayo, Cunego) fell behind. I'm mostly watching my picks, so here are my thoughts on them:

  • Discovery: Discovery has come out strong as expected, with Hincapie currently looking to be their favored rider. I'm having a hard time with my pick of Discovery as number one: I believe Discovery will win, but I have a hard time believing Hincapie will win, yet looks the most likely right now. Slightly surprising is the fact that Savoldelli appears to be very strong despite having trained for the Giro instead. Popovych had a poor showing in June's Dauphine and, while not looking bad, hasn't shown leader-level strength yet. Martinez looks like he'll be a strong domestique. The Discovery standings are:

    3 George Hincapie 0.05
    5 Paolo Savoldelli 0.15
    21 Yaroslav Popovyvch 0.27
    22 Egoi Martinez 0.28
    28 Jos� Azevedo 0.31
    50 Jos� Luis Rubiera 0.45

    Hincapie on final approach-1 Savoldelli during warmups
    That's pretty good, eh? The time trial will knock a couple back, but so many riders within striking distance of the yellow jersey should put Bruyneel in a great tactical position come mountain time. He could send Martinez, Azevedo, or Rubiera up the road to go for yellow and let the peloton pull Hincapie/Savo/Popo up the road, he could make the other teams Savo downhill to the stage 10 or stage 14 finish (stage 10 might be a bit too far), or he could just do the traditional blue train and see how many contenders he can blow off the back of a climb.

  • Floyd Landis7 Floyd Landis 0.15: Any doubts lingering from his poor Dauphine performance are mostly erased in my mind, though we haven't hit that first mountain yet. He was very strong in the prologue and he made the soft selection up the Cauberg today.

  • Bobby Julich Warming Up19 Bobby Julich 0.25: The injury to O'Grady probably isn't doing much for CSC's morale. Jens Voigt went on one of his traditional breaks, but he was atypically dropped from the break. A strong performance by Bobby J and/or Dave Z in the time could easily turn things around, but for now CSC is waiting for its moment.
  • Alejandro Valverde: Spain had its best chance dashed by a loss of concentration on a hot day.

  • Levi descends25 Levi Leipheimer 0.28: His prologue performance was less than stellar, 'sluggish' in his own words. He'll have several more stages to ride into shape, so this isn't a big concern just yet, but with such a wide open Tour, a little bit of sluggishness may be the difference between a podium finish and a top five finish (at least according to my predictions).

Other riders (look, non-Americans!):

  • 11 Cadel Evans 0.20: He won this year's Tour de Romandie, but I kept hearing his name in 2005 and never saw him deliver, so I'm still thinking top ten finish for him.
  • 16 Andreas Kl�den 0.24: I haven't been watching T-Mobile's top-remaining rider, but I should probably pay a bit more attention. T-Mobile is obviously weakened with the loss of Ullrich and Sevilla, but Kl�den did finish second while presumably working for Ullrich, so that always makes him a threat.
  • 32 Denis Menchov 0.33: Menchov has experience with doping-scandal Grand Tours, as he became the de facto winner of the 2005 Vuelta as a result of Heras' suspension. The title of Vuelta winner requires much respect as do his combined climbing and time trialing skills.

Kessler went for a repeat attack and this time was able to hold everyone off to the line. He put in a huge atack on the final steep Cauberg climb and the surviving members of the peloton had too much trouble working together to bring him back. Boonen managed to stay with the chase group just behind, which was enough to put him in yellow by a single second. He also takes over the lead of the green jersey competition from Robbie McEwen.

The biggest news on the day were the collarbone casualties: Valverde, Freddie Rodriguez, and Erik Dekker. Valverde is the biggest loss as the odds-on favorite for the overall win. He went down in a touch of wheels on this hot, difficult day. Fast Freddie and Dekker went down in a separate crash. Robbie McEwen will certainly miss his lead-out man.

The overall standings had a bit of a shakeup with Hushovd dropping to fourth, Michael Rogers jumping to second, and Discovery now with two riders in the top five: Hincapie at five seconds back and Savoldelli at 15 seconds back. Discovery has plenty of strength at the top of the standings and Popo and Azevedo are both right near Levi in the standings.

The day was dominated by a breakaway containing Jens Voigt, Christophe Laurent, Jos� Luis Arrieta, J�r�me Pineau, and Unai Extebarria. Pineau won most of the KOM climbs on the day and took over the KOM jersey lead. Jens Voigt picked up a bunch of sprint points and time bonuses, but the time bonuses were completely wiped out by finishing 1:29 behind. Arrieta was the last surviving member of the breakaway and made it all the way to the Cauberg climb before he was swallowed up by the swarm of riders from the peloton.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Frank Schleck * Actual: Kessler. Schleck finished 5 seconds off in the big chase group

Stage 3: La Chataigneraie-Tours

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keyhole.stage3.s.jpgHappy Fourth of July! Today's stage started with an American rider in yellow and with this being a sprint stage the overall standings weren't going to change. The course was 212km (~San Diego to Los Angeles), which means that there would be about 200km of mostly boring riding followed by an exciting sprint setup and finish. There was some action on the day that came from a breakaway. There were two baby climbs near the end of the course that the breakaway managed to survive until, and Dekker took both and along with them the King of the Mountains jersey from Voeckler.


photoBoonen took the sprint again, jumping out from fairly far back to power through the messy field of riders. He's so strong this year that I'd do much better with my predictions just to keep picking him. My pick Robbie McEwen got boxed in behind Boonen and tried to push aside Stuart O'Grady, a move that got McEwen relegated to last place.

Tomorrow is the team time trial, which I love watching. The Tour is a team race, even if an individual gets the glory, and tomorrow is a reminder of that. The riders will have to drill in military-like formations trying to best cut through the wind as well use their collecive strength to power through. The forecast says rain, which means that there will probably be crashes and flat tires that will cause teams to have to decide whether or not to leave a man behind or wait up.

Stage profile and my live stage log are in the extended.