Monday July 1st, 2013

Stage 3Ajaccio / Calvi

Start 12h55 GMT 2+

Gerrans: a first for an Australian team

Stage summary01.07.2013Stage 3- Ajaccio / Calvi

The Orica-GreenEdge team had an influence on the race in stage three that will put a smile on the faces of all involved. The two Simons - first Clarke, then Gerrans - made sure the jersey of the Australian team was seen throughout the race and on the podium as winners. Simon Clarke was voted the winner of the 'Fighting Spirit' award, a consolation for a bold effort to try and steal the polka-dot jersey. And it was Simon Gerrans who finished off an outstanding day for the first Aussie team to contest the Tour de France.
After all the attacking riders were reeled in with 3km to go, it was up to South Africa's Daryl Impey to deliver Gerrans as close as possible to the finish before peeling off and watching him sprint. It was a drag race between last year's green jersey winner - the runner-up in stage two of the 100th Tour - Peter Sagan... and the Australian won! It is his second victory in a stage of the Tour de France (his first was in 2008). Sagan might have finished second but he inherited the lead in the points classification.
RadioShack-Leopard was also rewarded for the work it did at the front of the peloton for most of the day: it supported Jan Bakelants and his quest to keep the yellow jersey for another day. The Belgian finished 19th in the stage but keeps the yellow jersey.

The progress report
The 145.5km third stage of the 100th Tour de France, from Ajaccio to Calvi, began at 12.52pm with 198 riders at the sign on. The sun was shining and the temperature was 27 degrees Celsius for this final stage on the island of Corsica before the Tour returns to mainland France. The itinerary included four climbs: the cat-4 col de San Bastiano (at 12km), cat-3 col de San Martino (at 58km), cat-3 côte de Porto (75km) and the cat-2 col de Marsolino (132km). The intermediate sprint was in Sagone at the 28.5km mark.

Five escape early...
Westra (VCD) attacked as soon as the stage began, he was joined by Gautier (EUC), Minard (ALM), Clarke (OGE) and Vuillermoz (SOJ) at 3km and there was no reaction to the attack by the peloton. The best of these five escapees on GC was Gautier; both he and Vuillermoz started the stage only 1” behind the yellow jersey. At 10km, Kashechkin (AST) was the first to abandon the 2013 Tour. Clarke sprinted for the line of the first climb and just held off Vuillermoz to claim one point. The maximum gain of the break was 4'25” (at 17km). Minard was first over the intermediate sprint line while Kittel led the sprint specialists over the line in Sagone, 3'20” behind the escape. The average speed for the first hour was 39.8km/h.

Clarke collects climbing points
The winner of the polka-dot jersey at last year's Vuelta led over both the first climbs, beating Vuillermoz in the sprint both times. On the second climb, Saxo-Tinkoff put four riders at the front before the passage through the Callaques de Piana; this prompted a reaction from teams like BMC, Sky and Belkin. With 75km to go, the advantage of the escapees was just 50”. Bagot (COF) abandoned the Tour at the halfway mark of the stage. Clarke led Vuillermoz over the third climb to collect another two point; the peloton was behind by 35” but then the escapees lifted the tempo and, with 65km to go, they were 1'10” ahead. The average speed for the 2nd hour was 36.2km/h.

Setting up the finish
With 21.5km to go, Clarke attacked the lead group. Minard followed but the other escapees didn't react. He faught hard to stay ahead for the climbing points but behind him Rolland (EUC) was on the attack. So too were Nieve (EUS), Nordhaug (BEL) and Chavanel (OPQ)... Rolland spoiled Clarke's quest for the polka-dot jersey and the Frenchman led over the final climb. The Australian was caught 14km from the finish. Rolland found himself on his own in the lead until being joined by Nordhaug, Chavanel and Nieve with 8km to go. The peloton was led by Orica and Cannondale riders and was just 10” behind with 5km to go. The peloton was all together 3km from the finish and, from there it was Orica-GreenEdge and Cannondale at the front.

Simon Gerrans give Orica-GreenEdge it's first stage win!
With 2.2km to go, Dumoulin (ARG) attacked the peloton but he was caught with about 800m to go and then the Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge teams dominated the head of the bunch. In what seemed to be a stage designed for Sagan, he failed to contend with Simon Gerrans who also thrives on tough terrain and has an impressive sprint. The Australian won a stage of the Volta a Catalunya earlier this year in a sprint and he repeated that effort today in the Tour de France. It is his second stage victory in the Tour – after his triumph at Prato Nevosa in 2008 – and the first victory for an Australian team in this race.
Jan Bakelants finished 19th in the stage and he will keep his yellow jersey for stage four.

Stage 3 Ajaccio / Calvi

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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These five riders have won sprint stages of the 100th Tour de France. Of these five, who do you think will win in Paris?

  • Marcel Kittel14.93%
  • Simon Gerrans1.08%
  • Mark Cavendish54.21%
  • André Greipel5.5%
  • Peter Sagan24.28%
14123 votes

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