Tuesday July 3rd, 2012

Stage 3Orchies / Boulogne-sur-Mer

Start 12h40 GMT 2+

The Super Sagan Show Continues

Stage summary03.07.2012Stage 3- Orchies / Boulogne-sur-Mer

It was destined to be an animated stage

The progress report
The third stage of the 99th Tour de France was the first one contested on French soil after the Grand Départ in Belgium. It was a 197km race from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer that featured six categorized climbs, including four in the closing 16km. Points for the polka-dot jersey were awarded at the côte de L'Eperche (cat-4 at 132km), côte de Mont Violette (cat-3 at 163.5km), côte de Herguelingue (cat-4 at 181km), côte de Quében (cat-4 at 185km), côte du Lambert (cat-3 at 190.5km) and the final rise to the finish which is ranked cat-4. The intermediate sprint was at Senlecques at 119km.

Establishing the escape: Morkov goes again!
The official start was at 12.38pm and all 198 riders were at the sign on. At the 5km mark that five men broke free of the peloton. The attack was instigated by Ruben Perez (EUS) and he was joined by Grivko (AST) – who was the best placed on GC of the escapees, in 43 overall 38” behind Cancellara – as well as: Minard (ALM), Bernaudeau (EUC), and the rider in the polka-dot jersey Morkov (STB). At 12km, they were 4'20” ahead of the bunch. RadioShack-Nissan assumed position at the front of the peloton after 15km when the escape was ahead by 5'40” and this was the maximum gain. By 26km, the quintet's advantage was down to 4'40”. The average speed for the first hour was 44km/h.
At 79km, there was a crash in the peloton and the worst affected was Brajkovic (AST). He quickly remounted and caught the bunch at 85km. The average speed for the second hour was 42km/h.
Liquigas sent one rider t the front of the bunch with 95km to go and Szmyd was the man who cooperated with RadioShack riders to set the pace of the chase group that was 5'00” behind.

Picking up points...
Minard (ALM) took first place in the intermediate sprint... meanwhile, at the front of the peloton, Orica-GreenEdge tried to set things up for Goss at the intermediate sprint. Cavendish marked him closely and the Sky sprinter took sixth place, 4'30” behind the escapees. Morkov was unchallenged by his escape companions on the first climb and he added to his tally of points in the race for the polka-dot jersey.

Crash force Sivtsov and Rojas to abandon
At the 140km mark there was a fall that involved Farrar and Vande Velde (GRM), Urtasun (EUS) and Sivtsov (SKY). The worst affected was Sivtsov who stayed on the road for quite some time and then, ultimately, was forced to abandon because of his injures.
With 38km to go and the peloton only 2'30” behind, Grivko accelerated at the front of the stage. Bernaudeau was unable to respond, leaving four men in the escape. Morkov led over the second climb and the peloton was at 2'10”, led by riders from Katusha and RadioShack. At the 168km mark, there was a big crash at the front of the bunch; many riders were affected including Gerrans (OGE), Caruso (KAT) and Rojas (MOV)... the latter of whom had to retire from the race. On the approach to the third climb, Grivko attacked and only Morkov could respond. The peloton was at 40”. Morkov was caught 8km from the finish; Grivko was captured with 7km to go. Basso (LIQ) led over the penultimate climb and shortly afterward Chavanel (OPQ) went on the attack. He was, very briefly, the virtual leader of the Tour gaining an advantage of 12” on the peloton but was caught with only 500m to go.

Sagan appears unstoppable...!
On the steep final climb Poels (VCD) was the first to surge in to the lead but then came a surge from Albasini (OGE) who led around the second last turn, just near the top, but his bid for the stage win ended when Sagan started his sprint. Westra (VCD) got tangled up with a Katusha rider and crashed to the ground, holding up a number of riders... but by then Sagan had pounced ahead to cross the line first. The winner of stage one was so fast that there was daylight between him and the next-best rider, Edvald Boasson Hagen. He danced his way across the line in what he called an homage to Forest Gump... and grinning ear to ear. He increases his led in the points classification.
Cancellara was strong at the finish and claimed fourth place and will continue to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour of 2012.

The stage in pictures




Stage 3 Orchies / Orchies

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 20

Classifications after the stage 20


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