Cycling News and Opinion
July 7, 2014
July 7, 2014
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TDF Stage Three Notes
First of all, apologies for not having photos from stage three posted. Our photographer, Fotoreporter Sirotti, is clearly having technical difficulties and as soon as his photos are available, we'll have them up.
Marcel Kittel and his Giant-Shimano team played the stage perfectly. Just after the day's break (Jan Barta and Jean-Marie Bideau) were caught, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, with generous assistance from Astana (looking to keep Vincenzo Nibali out of trouble) went to the front to control the final kilometers. Though their star sprinter, Mark Cavendish, was hors de combat, and Alessandro Petacchi (with 150 pro wins) was having trouble from a bee sting, Omega Pharma still had Mark Renshaw, a fast man who normally acts as Cavendish's final leadout man.
But, Omega Pharma seemed have acted too early and looked to have run out of suds as Giant-Shimano took the reins. They set Marcel Kittel free and he roared to the line with Peter Sagan glued to his wheel like a limpet. Sagan could only hang on for the ride while Kittel won his second stage in three days. Renshaw was third today.
Sagan said later,"In stages like today, I always race aiming to win but this second place makes me happy. Kittel is really strong, I think the fastest rider in the group, and I can't do more than stay behind his wheel. For today, it's enough. Second place gave me important points for the green jersey and, step by step, I'm getting my advantage. Kittel is a strong contender, Coquard also. ...I feel in good shape - I only hope [I] don't finish many other stages in second place and to take a win".
Marcel Kittel with the Windsor family after stage one.
Kittel's comment, ''This was one of the fastest sprints I've ever done''
After stage three Sagan leads both the young rider and points classifications and is sitting in second place in the Overall.
Speaking of Mark Cavendish, he's going to have surgery to repair his separated shoulder after he hit the ground hard in stage one. Cavendish will not be racing for at least six weeks.
Cavendish ruptured all the ligaments at the AC joint, or more pedantically, the acromioclavicular joint. This is where the collarbone (the clavicle) meets the highest point of the shoulder blade (acromion).
Andy Schleck crashed on the wet streets of London and gave himself a knee bruise and road rash. The Trek rider lost 65 seconds because of the fall and is now in 56th place, two and a half minutes behind GC leader Vincenzo Nibali.