Tour Now On Mainland
The third stage, and last stage on Corsica, was won by Simon Gerrans. Finally there was the mass sprint. Mass sprints always mark the first week of the Tour de France, but this year the first two stages ended differently. On Monday the 100th Tour will continue on mainland France.
Simon Gerrans the Australian cyclist from the Orica-GreenEdge team, beat Slovakian Peter Sagan in the mass sprint. The team, which was unsuccessful in last years’ Tour had, with Gerrans winning the stage, their first victory ever in the Tour.
Dutch Liewe Westra attacked in the first kilometer of the stage and stayed ahead with a group of five for a long time. The Vacansoleil-DCM rider was not going for the win. He said that he didn’t feel very good and instead of driving in the peloton, he guessed it would be better for him to make it a training stage where he could just be busy with his own limits.
As Andy Schleck already made clear, before the start in Ajaccio, team Radioshack would defend the yellow jersey of Jan Bakelants. And so they did! The five escapees got maximum 4 minutes from Radioshack and they controlled the stage from the beginning till the end. Jan Bakelants kept the yellow jersey around his shoulders and will start one more day in yellow, in Nice.
In Nice the remaining 196 riders will face a team trial stage.
Team trials were especially popular in the eighties. The Dutch team TI-Raleigh, with star cyclists like Jan Raas, Gerrie Kneteman and Joop Zoetemelk, was feared by all the other teams in the Tour. Until 2005 it was standard for the Tour to have a team trial stage. Afterwards there were only team trial stages in 2009 and 2011.
This years’ Grand Boucle includes a team trial stage in Nice. Although team Omega Pharma-QuickStep became last year the world champion team trials in Valkenburg (Limburg), their chances don’t look so good. In the first stage Toni Martin fell and broke some ribs. He is still on the bike, but if he can be the engine for his team on Monday remains a question. According to Niki Terpstra, team mate of Martin, is Martin improving every day and he might be fit enough on Monday to bring the team a victory. However, when Terpstra was asked which teams belong to the favorites, he answered that team Sky and BMC have a lot of chance to win stage 4.
Riders who go for a place in the top twenty and who have not such a strong team around them, fear the 25km long team trial very much.