An early attack saw a breakaway group of 5 riders make a bid for glory early on during stage 3. Mechanical problems and crashes plagued the peloton from the start. A big crash at the 104k mark saw Sky rider Siutsou pull out of the Tour leaving Wiggins with one less support rider in the mountains. Petacchi and Sanchez were both victims of mechanical failure in the last 20km which saw them both out of contention for stage win. The last of the breakaway group was eventually caught with about 6km to go. For Saxo Bank-Tinkoff’s Morkov this was his third early attack in a row boosting his polka-dot points tally.
A late break saw OPQS’s Chavenel attack in the last 6 km, but it wasn’t enough as the peloton caught him on the downhill with 500m to go. Sagan showed impressive power on the uphill finish to take his second stage victory of this year’s Tour. Celebration wise Sagan pulled out a running man style tribute as he crossed the line.
Katusha’s Oscar Freire collided with a Vacansoleil rider to cause a pile up 300 metres from the finish which saw Bradley Wiggins held up, but avoiding injury. As the crash occurred inside the final 3 km, the Sky rider remains second overall, seven seconds down on yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara with Chavenel in third.
1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas Cannondale)/
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)
3. Peter Velits of (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
Stage 4 Abbeville – Rouen (214km Flat Stage)
The wind could play a major role during this stage. With the first half of the route following the outline of the coast the conditions of the race will remain dependent on the weather that the sea brings in. The wind could cause problems early on in the race if it picks up over the English Channel. The Peloton could get split so it’s key that the teams keep their speed men out of harm’s way. These conditions should prompt some early attacks but these should be eaten up by the peloton towards the finish. This stage is ideal for the sprinters to flex their muscles with the terrain being mainly flat with the odd lump here or there for good measure, but nothing that should cause too many problems. This stage is prime target for those seeking points before we get to the hillier stages so there’s everything to race for!
TdF tipple recommendation
The late great Jacques Anquetil (5 time TdF winner) hails from this part of France and attributed his success in the saddle to a little wine with each meal. Unfortunately there are few vineyards in this area but there are plenty of apple orchids so today’s tipple recommendation is Calvados cider brandy. For a brandy this drink offers a long, fruity and slightly dry taste, perfect for sipping during the Tour… unless you’re stuck at work.
One’s to watch
This stage is another one for the sprinters. Despite Cav winning stage 2 with no Sky lead out train the windy conditions may be too much for him. The organised team lead out trains of Lotto Belisol and GreenEDGE have a real chance to stamp their authority on this stage. Matt Goss could have a shout but my prediction for this stage is the German powerhouse Andre Greipel.
Today’s stage is the homeland of Jacques Anquetil, a five time winner of the Tour de France. Here’s Jacque during the 1964 Tour de France shoulder to shoulder with Raymond Poulidor. Would love to see a bit of argy bargy on the climbs at this year’s Tour!
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