July 1, 2013–Corsica–by Jen Benepe
Simon Gerrans won the third stage of the Tour today as it wound up its run through Corsica into the town of Calvi.
It was the second Tour stage win for Gerrans who rides for Orica GreenEdge, the same team whose bus rammed the finish line banner two days ago. It’s only the second year that the team is riding in the Tour de France.
It was a tight fight to the finish for Peter Sagan who tried to best Gerrans to the line, but missed by a fraction. José Joaquim Rojas (ESP) MOV was third over the line. Sagan will now wear the Green Jersey.
The Polka Dot jersey stayed with Pierre Roland who managed to rack up points at the final climb of the day. Jan Bakelants of Team RadioShack maintained his lead in the Yellow Jersey which could pay off in tomorrow’s Team Time Trial in Nice. Gerrans is now in third position overall.
From the beginning today’s stage promised more upsets with only one second separating Bakelants from other competitors, such as Dave Millar who was one second behind the Belgian in the final results and second overall.
But the real upset was hinted early on in the stage when five men broke away, and stayed away for most of the race, offering a chance to once again upset the rankings: two of the break riders Frenchmen Cyril Gautier (Europcar) and Alexis Vuillermoz (Sojasun) were one second off the leader Bakelants.
Winding through mountainous areas of Corsica, much of which bordered beautiful, deep blue waters, for a moment one could imagine that a race wasn’t going on and we were all on vacation instead.
Given the relatively hilly course, with a category 4 climb almost immediately in the 145.5 km course, followed by a category 2, 3, and 2 climb to Calvi, Corsica, it would be up to the RadioShack Team to work together to keep their rider in Yellow.
But if any team could do it, this one should, because it includes riders like Jens Voigt, who despite his age of 41 is one of the most combative mountain riders, plus Chris Horner, Andy Schleck, Haimar Zubeldia, Maxime Monfort, and Andreas Kloden.
A victory today would certainly put the team in good stead for tomorrow’s Team Trial, which with Swiss TT champion Fabian Cancellara, the RadioShack team could win.
Five men started a breakaway almost immediately, instigated by Lieuwe Westra (VCD), and soon joined by Sebastien
Minard (ALM), Alexis Vuillermoz (SOJ), Cyril Gautier (EUC) and Simon Clarke (OGE).
Two riders in the break were only one second back from Bakelants, Cyril Gautier who ranked 30th after yesterday and Alexis Vuillermoz from Sojasun who is 54th overall, so both riders could benefit by establishing a big time gap with the Belgian leader.
Soon that group was ahead of the peloton by more than 3 minutes, and Team RadioShack moved to the front of the gruppo to up the pace behind them. At 17 km as they approached the sprint point in Sagone (pronounced Saigon,) the group was 4 minutes 20 seconds ahead of the peloton.
Though Minard won the sprint in the lead group, the points were very close for Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan behind them in the peloton, creating a large acceleration by both teams before Sagone.
This morning we learned that Mark Cavendish has been suffering from a pulmonary infection, but he managed to come in third in the sprint, with Kittel first, and Greipel second.
But with the points so close still, Kittel with 8 points ahead of Sagan, the finish sprint would be decisive today.
We’d like to be inside the heads of Team RadioShack today and indeed of their new general manager, Luca Guercilena. On the one hand they a have a rider who is in Yellow, Jan Bakelants, but he is unlikely to be able to hold the distinction through the alps later in the Tour.
The 27-year-old came in third in the Belgian Championships this year, but only came in first once in 2008 at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Espoirs. Should the team then defend the yellow even though Andy Schleck has a better shot overall at the podium?
Later Alberto Contador’s Team Saxo-Tinkoff came to the head of the peloton, heading the chase behind the leaders. Were they trying to gain time for Contador as they headed into tomorrow’s Team Time Trial in Nice, France?
After passing the following two category 2 and 3 climbs at Col de San Martino, and Cote de Porto, the leaders’ advantage was only 68 seconds.
A crash brought down a number of riders soon thereafter, including Niki Terpstra, a member of Cavendish’s Omega Pharma Quickstep team who seemed to catch up his musee bag in the wheels.
Cavendish who was dropped on the third climb managed to get back to the peloton soon after Cote de Porto over 80 km into the race.
Then Team Sky came to the front of the peloton as they headed down the descents from Porto, with Froome in fourth position. Twisting roads insured that the riders rode at a slightly slower pace of 36.2km per hour. The average for the first two hours of the stage was 37.9km per hour.
Again Team RadioShack came to the fore: it was beginning to look more and more like the team strategy was to keep the Yellow Jersey for Bakelants, and enter the Team Time Trial with an advantage.
At the 97 km mark, the lead break was 2 minutes ahead of the peloton. With 15 km to go to the finish before the last climb we could anticipate more action from the peloton as they make the last category 2 climb at the Col de Marsolino.
Meanwhile, Simon Clarke riding in the lead group for Orica-GreenEdge, managed to win all of the first three climb sprints, racking up points in the King of the Mountain.
Then the 24-year-old French Champion Arthur Vichot of the Francais des Jeux team crashed after touching wheels with another rider along the false flats in the hills.
Ahead Team RadioShack forged ahead, bringing down the deficit with the leaders incrementally as they headed for the last short climb of the day: with 40 km to go, the leaders were ahead by only one minute.
With the deficit to the leaders declining, Team Saxo-Tinkoff took a turn at the front of the chase, while among the lead group, Sebastian Minard (Agr2 la Mondiale) took a flyer off the front, trying to get away from the other riders, but he was reeled back in. There was 20 km to the finish, but only 7 km to the top of the climb.
Then Australian Simon Clarke (Orica GreenEdge) took a flyer, and Frenchman Minard followed, as they got away from the rest of the lead group and established a 20 second lead over the remaining three in the break, and 40 second lead ahead of the peloton.
But the Col de Marsolino was up ahead: Alexis Vuillermoz was caught by the peloton. Then Clarke took off from Minard. Behind them the peloton was streaming up the mountain. Clarke had 2.5 km to the summit where he could win 5 points, which would double his points for the Green Jersey, and put him ahead of Pierre Roland who had 5 points as well.
Minard was then absorbed by the peloton, when Euskaltel rider Igor Anton rode off the front of the peloton to try and catch Clarke. Behind them Yellow Jersey Bakelants was riding in second position in the peloton.
Then the Europcar team rider Malacarne took a flyer off the front of the peloton leading Pierre Roland dressed in red polka dots to join Clarke: Rolland then dropped Clarke, and moved away on his own towards the summit at Marsolino.
Mikel Nieve iturralde of the Euskaltel team tried to catch Rolland, but the Frenchman stayed ahead as he passed the summit and headed down the descent.
A Belkin rider Lars Norhaug also came to the front before the descent, coming in third over the summit, with Jurgen van den Broeck fourth.
Sylvain Chavanel stormed across the gap in the descent, and caught Rolland at 8.3 km from the finish, a day after his 34th birthday (yesterday.) With Nieve and Norhaug catching up, soon the four riders were together working to stay ahead of the peloton in an attempt to grab the Yellow Jersey away from Bakelants.
Lars Norhaug tried to get away, but Chavanel responded when they were 4 km to go, while behind them the peloton caught them all, including Rolland around 3 km to go. This would be a sprinter’s finish in the end, and Bakelants was within the group hoping to stay with them to remain the leader at the end of the day.
An Agros Shimano rider launched an attack 2 km from the finish: behind him, Sagan was in fourth or fifth position lining up for a sprint.
One km to go the main field was streaming along with Sagan near the front, as they made their way into the right hand turn to the finish, Simon Gerrans Orica GreenEdge taking the lead with Sagan coming to the middle, a photo finish showed Gerrans as the leader.
The first rider to abandon the Tour was Andrey Kashechkin of the Astana team, leaving 197 riders in the race at the start. Yoann Bagot of the Cofidis team is the second rider to abandon today after about 75 km.
Geraint Thomas who wore the White Jersey in 2011 and 2010 for best young rider, is now the lanterne rouge, the last rider in the tour mostly due to a fracture to his pelvis that he sustained in the crash in stage 1.
Team Europcar announced this morning that they intended to help teammate Pierre Rolland keep the climber’s Polka Dot jersey who holds five points–the same as Blel Kadri, whom he could lose it to easily.
Today the Frenchman wore an entire kit covered in red polka dots, and rode a matching polka dot painted bicycle.
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Overall individual time classification
Total distance covered: 514.5 KM
|1.||BELBAKELANTS Jan||42||RADIOSHACK LEOPARD||12h 21′ 27”|
|2.||FRASIMON Julien||218||SOJASUN||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|3.||AUSGERRANS Simon||181||ORICA GREENEDGE||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|4.||POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal||153||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|5.||NORBOASSON HAGEN Edvald||2||SKY PROCYCLING||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|6.||RSAIMPEY Daryl||185||ORICA GREENEDGE||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|7.||GBRMILLAR David||176||GARMIN – SHARP||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|8.||UZBLAGUTIN Sergey||206||VACANSOLEIL-DCM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|9.||AUSEVANS Cadel||31||BMC RACING TEAM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|10.||FRABARDET Romain||82||AG2R LA MONDIALE||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|11.||IRLROCHE Nicolas||97||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|12.||BELVAN DEN BROECK Jurgen||21||LOTTO-BELISOL||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|13.||FRACHAVANEL Sylvain||152||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|14.||FRAPÉRAUD Jean-Christophe||81||AG2R LA MONDIALE||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|15.||GBRFROOME Christopher||1||SKY PROCYCLING||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|16.||ITACUNEGO Damiano||141||LAMPRE – MERIDA||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|17.||RUSVORGANOV Eduard||109||KATUSHA TEAM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|18.||CZEKREUZIGER Roman||94||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|19.||ESPVALVERDE Alejandro||121||MOVISTAR TEAM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|20.||DENFUGLSANG Jakob||63||ASTANA PRO TEAM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|21.||ESPASTARLOZA Mikel||112||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|22.||ESPIZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka||113||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|23.||AUSHANSEN Adam||25||LOTTO-BELISOL||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|24.||AUSPORTE Richie||6||SKY PROCYCLING||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|25.||ITAGAVAZZI Francesco||65||ASTANA PRO TEAM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|26.||CANHESJEDAL Ryder||171||GARMIN – SHARP||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|27.||NEDPOELS Wouter||201||VACANSOLEIL-DCM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|28.||ESPRODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin||101||KATUSHA TEAM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|29.||SVKSAGAN Peter||11||CANNONDALE||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|30.||USAVANDE VELDE Christian||179||GARMIN – SHARP||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|31.||BELGILBERT Philippe||34||BMC RACING TEAM||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|
|32.||ESPANTON Igor||111||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||12h 21′ 28”||+ 00′ 01”|