Stage 3: La Chataigneraie-Tours

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.


Live Stage Log

Happy Fourth of July. The yellow jersey is in American hands today.

TiVo-delayed live blogging

Another sprint stage, this one's 212km (~San Diego-Los Angeles)

Prediction: I'm sticking with Robbie McEwen (he's gotta win one of these sprint stages). Bob Roll is going with Jan Ullrich (WTF?)

Tom Boonen's got the green points jersey. Voeckler is in the the King of the Mountain Jersey and is defending it on these little sprint stage climbs.

Eric Dekker is part of a breakaway. There's a strong tailwind, don't know if that helps or hurts the breakaway.

82k to go. Lead is 3:25.

Average speed is 27mph

Gap is down to 2:48, 76k to go

Paul shared a story of rider retribution. There was a rider who had a habit of attacking while people were going to the bathroom, so one day while he was going to the bathroom someone in the field stole his bike, rolling it down the road for a bit before casting it off.

Phil shared the anecdote of Roge Hasselford (sp?), a rider in the 50s who used to race away from the field, then hide behind a tree. When the main field passed by, he'd jump in on the back and watch them while they tried to chase a ghost.

The breakaway is still away going into the last baby climbs of the day, so they will get the KoM points. It looks like Dekker is going to try and take the KoM jersey from Voeckler (1 climb down, 1 to go to get enough points).

Dekker now has the King of the Mountain jersey as he won the last baby climb.

Lots of respect for the yellow flag men. They have to stand on the course warning riders off obstacles and wrong turns. Some of them have to stand in the median waving a flag as riders split to either side of them at 20-30mph. I'm not sure I could stay looking forward knowing that a rider may miss the turn and barrel straight into me.

13.5km to go, the breakaway is still away but the field is tryingto pull them in (0:43 back).

2 miles to go and Dekker is like a little carrot in front of the main pack just behind.

Cancellara has sprinted off the front and passed Dekker.

1k to go and Cancellara is caught.

McEwen got boxed in behind Boonen and Boonen wins! (McEwen was pushing really hard into the side of O'Grady)

related articles: Tour de France 2005
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