Chasing Le Tour: Winners are grinners!

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Orica-GreenEDGE reconned stage 3 of this year’s Tour de France a week or so before the race and decided it was suited to Simon Gerrans. They built their day around Gerro and it couldn’t have worked out better.

Before the stage Orica-GreenEDGE sports director Matt White had said he wanted a man in the break, and Simon Clarke got the nod. And then, in a reversal of the previous stage’s lead-out, Daryl Impey led Simon Gerrans to the line. Gerro jumped and held off a storming Peter Sagan to claim Orica-GreenEDGE’s first Tour de France victory in a photo finish.

Back at the team cars post-race, in between jubilant hugs with riders, fellow team directors and other Orica-GreenEDGE staff, Matt White spoke to reporters about the relief of winning a stage at the world’s biggest bike race. Orica-GreenEDGE has won 50 victories in two years, he reminded us, but this one is particularly special.

Simon Clarke spoke to reporters about how his role was to take the pressure off Gerrans and teammates back in the bunch. After all, there’s no impetus to chase down a break when you’ve got a man there. And not only was Clarke in the break, he was off the front of the break as well, animating the race and eventually winning the day’s honours for the most combative rider.

As the questions started to die down and the reporters headed off in search of other teams, Neil Stephens and Matt White embraced fiercly. “Box ticked!”, said White.

And so the Tour de France’s dalliance with the stunning island of Corsica comes to an end. It’s been three stages of drama, of wedged buses, of unlikely victors, and of an Aussie fan favourite winning a stage.

We, like the riders, will be sad to leave this island behind as the race heads to the French mainland for stage 4 and beyond. But if the TV images have been anything to go by, Corsica will have won many new fans over the past few days. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 100 editions for the race to come back here.

Until tomorrow, thanks for reading, and check out these photos from stage 3.

Follow the link to see full results from stage 3 of the 2013 Tour de France.

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