- The race 2011
- All about the race
“The first victory is the hardest to get,” said the winner of stage three, Tyler Farrar. “We got that one yesterday in the team time trial and immediate we have won again today.” In fact, the US team got three men in the top seven of what was an impressive sprint from the best mate of Wouter Weylandts who made sure he paid homage to his falled comrade with a “W” sign just after he crossed the line just ahead of a fast-finishing Roman Feillu. All the work of the HTC Express that dominated the front of the peloton from five kilometers to go, somehow, got a little muddled up and the big pre-stage favorite Mark Cavendish was only able to finish fifth place. There was no change to the top order of the general classification after this long, flat stage but the third place finisher José Rojas gets a consolation for his fast finish, the Spanish champion is now the leader of the points classification.
The Progress Report
The 198km third stage of the 2011, from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon, began at 12.44pm with 198 riders still in the race. The first attack was a successful one and it involved five men: Gutierrez (MOV), Delage (FDJ), Bouet (ALM), Terpstra (QST) and Perez Moreno (EUS). Their move began in the first kilometer and there was little reaction from the peloton. They steadily increased their advantage and by the 5km mark, Gutierrez was the virtual leader after starting the stage ranked 59th overall, 1’09” behind Hushovd. By the 40km mark, the peloton was 5’20” behind. The average speed for the first hour was 40.1km/h. The maximum gain of the escape was 8’05” at 74km. Garmin-Cervélo was responsible for the pace setting of the peloton from the moment the escape formed. The average speed for the second hour was 40.7km/h.
Fast and Furious Sprint For Points
With 120km to go, the pace of the peloton picked up and by the time the leading quintet contested the intermediate sprint it was 6’30” ahead of the peloton. Delage led the escape to the line in St-Hilaire-de-Chaleons by starting his sprint about 250 meters from the prime. Five kilometers before the sprint, Lampre, Omega Pharma-Lotto and HTC moved near the front of the peloton. Lampre had the biggest numbers and it was Petacchi who really started the sprint for sixth place points but he netted nothing… Gilbert was the next to lead – from about 350m before the line – and he led Hushovd and Cavendish. When ‘Cav’ really turned on the pace, he easily took the 10pts on offer for sixth. Discounting yesterday, it’s only the second time in three years that Cavendish has scored points at an intermediate sprint.
Delage Takes One Climbing Point…
The Frenchman in the escape attacked in the final 100 meters of the climb and took one point. His group was 1’35” ahead of the peloton with 55km to go. As the bunch crested the Pont-de-St-Nazaire a few splits appeared; caught in the second group were Chavanel (QST) and Basso (LIQ) and five others but they rejoined the peloton shortly after the climb. Karpets (KAT) crashed with 60km to go and spent the next 20km chasing along with Casar (FDJ) who was dropped on the climb.
Setting Up The Sprint
Between the climb and the 25km to go mark teams with GC specialists spent time at the front of the bunch: Leopard-Trek, BMC, Rabobank and Saxo Bank. A favorable wind helped them hold a pace of 70km/h. Gutierrez was the first to attack the lead group (with 21km to go). Eventually only he and Delage joined forces after dropping the other three when the peloton was 30” behind. By then the GC teams were replaced at the head of the peloton by sprint squads HTC, Lampre which shared the work with Rabobank. Terpstra, Perez Moreno and Bouet were caught 15km from the finish. Gutierrez and Delage were caught with 9km to go.
Farrar Wins One For Wouter…
In the third stage of the Giro d’Italian this May, cycling lost one of its own when Wouter Weylandt crashed on a descent. His good friend, Tyler Farrar, made sure that he remembered him after crossing the line to take his first solo victory in the Tour de France. This success came after a frantic rush to the line that was controlled from five kilometers out by the HTC team but ultimately it was a chaotic rush to the finish line for all but the Garmin team that had three men in the top seven; the yellow jersey led Julian Dean who then delivered Farrar for his winning sprint with 150 meters to go.
Hushovd finished seventh and will keep the yellow jersey for stage four.
The winner of stage one is the big favorite for the finish located on top of the Mûr-de-Bretagne which coincides with his birthday but Philippe Gilbert admits that the events of the first two days could influence the outcome of stage four.
“Since the start of this Tour I’ve worn almost all the jerseys and tomorrow I’ll race with the polka-dot jersey. It’s a rather beautiful collection. The stage to the Mûr-de-Bretagne is one that I’ve waited a long time for because I think it’s a great stage for me. I hope to win again. It’s likely to be different to the day to Mont des Alouettes because the situation has changed since then… Alberto Contador, for example, has lost some time and he could attempt to make up for that in stage four. He can be an ally for me and it’s possible that I could follow his wheel for a while.”
With a tailwind pushing the peloton along for the last 50 kilometers, Geraint Thomas admits that he was spinning out his 54x11 gear ratio at around 70km/h on the approach to Redon. In the final rush to the line, he burst off the front to lead out two team-mates, but he was left stranded…
“I was hoping to be there for Edvald Boasson Hagen and Ben Swift but unfortunately, at the finish, they got knocked around a bit. Hopefully, by the end of the week, there’ll be a few tired bodies and we’ll get a cleaner run. It’s great to be getting stuck into the action, get a few results and get to wear this lovely white jersey. It’s the Tour de France, the biggest race in the world and it’s nice to be on that podium.
“The last 50 kilometers was rather crazy. With the crowds it was intensified; they seem to think that it’s a mountain stage and that they can all get out of the way in time but we’re going at 60km/h and it’s pretty dangerous at times.
“It was hectic, a proper Tour sprint. It’s the first week, everyone is fresh and unfortunately Edvald lost my wheel and Swifty lost his wheel. If they’d been there, we would have been in a great position really. The plan was to hit out with a kilometer to go and that’s what I did… and I looked behind and there was no one there. There was no option of trying to hold on for the win myself: I’d used up all my energy and when you’ve got guys like Renshaw and Hushovd chasing you down, it’s going to take a super effort to stay away from them.”
He has said time and time again that the green jersey is not a goal of his at this year’s Tour but still the question emerges each time he walks through the media compound. And so Thor Hushovd confessed that it’s hard to break old habits…
"To be honest with you, I’ve been fighting for the green jersey for the last 10 years and it’s hard for me to just sit back and watch as all my competitors go for the sprint so I can’t just be up there only following them but, once again: the green jersey is not a goal for me in 2011.
“The stage tomorrow is hard and the final is very difficult. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep the jersey but I’ll do my best and follow the good moves and give everything I can to hang on and no lose any seconds but there’s only one name for the stage to the Mûr-de-Bretagne, and that’s “Philippe Gilbert.
“Every day that a rider spends in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France is a big achievement. It’s good for the confidence and it gives me motivation.”
Two months ago, Tyler Farrar lost a good friend. Wouter Weylandt died after a crash in stage three of the Giro d’Italia. In stage three of the Tour de France, the American sprinter achieved what he hoped to – dedicate a win to his mate…
“I’ve been chasing this win for a few years now. I’ve come close a lot and to finally get it is a huge relief. We won yesterday and that was already incredible – it was already a dream come true, just to stand on the Tour podium – but to do it again today… I just can’t even comprehend it.
“I think we showed that we also have a strong train. First there is Dave Millar and then Thor and then Julian and then myself – it’s been a work in progress since 2009 for us and it’s just getting better and better.
“The team time trial was something special, a victory for the entire team but to win a sprint… ah, it’s been a dream since I was a child and it’s finally come true. It’s incredible for me – I had the world champion who is wearing the maillot jaune leading out the sprint for me. It’s not a common sight but when you have that happening you have to do a good sprint. And to win on the Fourth of July is just another sign of how well it’s all come together today.
“This one is for Wouter. It’s been a big loss. It’s been a rough few months for me since… but I wanted to be good here in the Tour and try to do something to remember him and so I’m happy that was able to do it.”
Farrar has held off a late charge by Roman Feillu and Rojas to give Garmin-Cervélo its second victory in two days. The top five in stage three is: 1. Tyler Farrar (USA) GRM - 198km ijn 4’40’21" (42.4km/h) 2. Roman Feillu (FRA) VCD 3. Jose Rojas (ESP) MOV 4. Sebastian Hinault (FRA) ALM 5. Mark Cavendish (GBR) HTC 6. Thor Hushovd (NOR) GRM 7. Julian Dean (NZL) GRM 8. Borut Bozic (SLO) VCD 9. André Greipel (GER) OLO 10. Denis Galimzyanov (RUS) KAT
Farrar has received the lead-out of his life by Hushovd and the American has celebrated his first solo Tour stage win on the 4th of July. He has gestured with a "W" for his fallen comrade Wouter Weylandts...
Garmin riders are now right on the back of the HTC express... the peloton is inside the final kilometer. The sprint specialists are about to do their thing and HTC’s plans are being spoiled by a late move by Thomas but now Hushovd is taking over the lead-out duties.
Hondo has jumped off the front of the peloton but now there’s an attack from a Vacansoleil rider who has opened up a gap with 2km to go.
Petacchi is right on the wheel of Cavendish as they pass under the 3km to go banner. Martin is still on the front...