Stage 3: Wanze – Porte du Hainaut

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If you ever thought the beginning flatlands of the Tour de France were boring and predictable, stage 3 proved to throw that perception upside down.  Wanze – Porte du Hainaut was just as exciting as Paris Roubaix in my view. I was jumping out of my skin watching all 13.2 kilometers of cobbles and crashes!  These guys were racing like mad men.  Not one rider was sitting in the comfort of the peloton soft pedaling to the finish.  Unlike yesterday, we had ourselves a bike race!  This stage was on par with something the Giro organizers would do.  Good on the ASO!

The exciting difference between this stage and a Classic such as Paris-Roubaix is that the riders were racing for time, not necessarily the win.  Guys like Contador and Armstrong were riding like club racers sprinting for 30th place trying to take advantage of the time gaps that resulted over the cobbles. It could have been a disastrous stage for some of the GC contenders in the first week.  Fortunately all the favorites made it to the finish unscathed and some interesting time gaps emerged.

Stage Results

1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 4:49:38
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions
5 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank
6 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank
7 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin – Transitions 0:00:53
8 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
10 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana

Other Aussies…

26 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  0:02:08
46 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia  0:02:25
108 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram 0:06:28
124 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française des Jeux
125 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia
155 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:09:49
156 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team
168 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto 12:24

Adam Hansen out with a fractured collarbone after Stage 1

General Classification

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 14:54:00
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39
4 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions 0:00:46
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 0:01:01
6 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:09
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 0:01:19
8 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0:01:31
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:01:40
10 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:42
11 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
12 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin – Transitions 0:01:47
13 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:01:49
14 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team
15 David Millar (GBr) Garmin – Transitions 0:02:06
16 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:02:24
17 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:02:25
18 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack 0:02:30
19 Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:02:34
20 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:02:35

Photo by Reuters

Frank Schleck abandons with broken collarbone (Photo by AFP)

Ryder Hesjedal had the most ballsy ride of the day.  Will we ever see another Canadian TdF stage winner?  I certainly think so…

Cancellara drives the chase in pursuit of Hesjedal.

Lance catching back onto one of the front groups after a mechanical

Chavanel had a day he’d rather forget after a mechanical and two punctures

Thor delivered the goods after not having a chance to sprint yesterday

Like a selfless domestique, Vino was driving the pace for Contador trying to minimize his losses.  But he forgot to wait up for Contador!

Photo by AFP

Cancellara back in Yellow.  Photo by Reuters

TdF Quiz

Yesterday’s  <C-4> Bicycle Components set of titanium skewers (weighing only 54.5g for the pair) goes to Scott Hamilton.  Please get in touch with me and provide your shipping details and color preference of red, silver or black  (cyclingtips at gmail dot com)

Yesterday’s Trivia Answers

1. The decent of the Stockeu is also featured in the Ardennes Spring Classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

2. On average, the riders encounter 3 crashes throughout an entire Tour de France.

3. The ruling for the riders who crash within 3 kms of a flat stage finish is they are given the same time as those they were riding with (usually the peloton).

Today’s Quiz

Thanks to our trivia master, Sam

Today’s quiz prize is brought to you by Bike Force Docklands.  They will be giving away one accessory pack worth $250 (gloves, armwarmers, etc) to one lucky commenter who either answers the quiz questions correctly or gives us some insight / opinion on today’s stage.

1. In the first Tour De France in 1903, what happened to the first four riders across the line?

A.They were all disqualified for catching the train.
B. They were all attacked at various times during the race by rival fans.
C. All of the above

2. In which year did an Australian first ride the Tour de France?

A. 1914 – Don Kirkham and Iddo ‘Snowy’Munro.
B. 1928 – Sir Hubert Opperman.
C. 1978 – Phil Anderson.

3. True or false? – in the early years of the TDF the ‘Lanterne rouge’ (named after the slowest overall rider at the time in Le Tour) was actually required to carry a red lantern on the back of his saddle.

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