Tour De France Stage 3 Orchies - Boulogne-Sur-Mer

04/07/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

Ok, here comes another not quite technical view of stage 3. Yesterday’s stage had a rolling terrain, not really one thing or the other. So there was a possibility that any number of riders could take the stage win. With a finish so close to the English shores, it’s not surprising that whilst watching it there were many Union flags waving from the side of the road.

I know not everyone looks at the crowd but I do like to keep an eye out for some odd characters that make themselves known to us along the way. I think many of them are not so much interested in the racing but more so in getting themselves on t.v. This will become more apparent as we hit the mountain stages, things go a little slower and the loonies on the side will get a lot more airtime.

The intermediate sprint with 75km to go was won by Mark Cavendish and he made it look easy in the end despite getting boxed in. We didn’t see much of Mr Wiggin’s yesterday but he seemed to keep himself mostly out of trouble.

The day was dominated by crashes; I put this down to a dodgy mixture of quite narrow lanes, a bit of dampness on the road in places and a high pace from the peloton. As teams start to try and move up to the front of the pack, the peloton gets squeezed, riders start to touch wheel s and sooner or later, bingo, you have a pile up. Team Sky lost Kanstantsin Sivtsov in the first big crash of the day. He was the first to retire.

There was another big pile up with around 30km to go, which saw J.J Rojas of Movistar retire from the race. At 27km from the finish the peloton was very fractured and there were quite strong cross winds. They soon regrouped and then with 5km to go Sylvain Chavanel jumped off the front and made a break for the finish.

He got a nice lead out on a downhill section into Boulogne, but made a bit of a mess of a sharp right hander at the bottom of a hill and lost time. The run in to the finish was like a roller coaster and the peloton weren’t hanging around. They caught and passed Chavanel and unbelievably there was yet another crash. This saw a number of the big names caught up in it, including Bradley Wiggins who threw his chain. He stayed calm and realised that the crash was inside the last 3 km so wouldn’t incur any time losses, put his chain on and cruised to the line.

Meanwhile the race for the stage win was won by Peter Sagan of Liquigas and he looked comfortable. He did a Forrest Gump tribute, a la run forrest run, as he crossed the line beating  Edvald Boasson Hagen into second place. This was his second stage win of the Tour so far.

After the stage in an interview he said he’d done the Forrest Gump thing because he had been watching it earlier. Fabian Cancellara remains in yellow and Brad Wiggins was still in second place, so all in all not a bad stage.

 There is still a long way to go and if you are familiar with the Tour de France or any major stage race, anything can happen and usually does.