It was supposed to be the lightweight climbers — riders like Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck — who would have the hardest time with the cobblestoned sections thrown at riders in yesterday’s stage that crossed from Belgium into northern France.
But Contador and Schleck actually put time into Lance Armstrong, who got caught behind a crash and then was slowed by mechanical trouble.
Another day of crashes and chaos, and now Lance finds himself trailing some key contenders.
The day’s stage was won by Norweigian sprinter Thor Hushovd, and Fabian Cancellara reclaimed the yellow jersey when Sylvain Chavanel suffered multiple mechanical breakdowns on the cobblestones, writes cyclingnews.com.
Cycling Weekly’s Gregor Brown says the old days of Armstrong’s team keeping tight control over the race are over. It was the Saxo Bank team that kept a cool head when the race blew up.
Another big winner yesterday was Cadel Evans, who handled the cobbles well and now finds himself leading all of the top overall contenders, points out the Sydney Morning Herald.
Today, the riders have a relatively short stage through France’s champagne region to the city of Reims. Expect the spriinters to have their day.
Stage 3 results: 1. Thor Hushovd (Nor), 2. Geraint Thomas (GBr), 3. Cadel Evans (Aus), 4. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), 5. Andy Schleck (Lux)
Overall standings: 1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), 2. Geraint Thomas (GBr), 3. Cadel Evans (Aus), 4. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), 5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra)
The favorites, trailing Cadel Evans: Andy Schleck (22 seconds), Alberto Contador (1:01m), Brad Wiggins (1:10m), Lance Armstrong (1:51m), Frank Schleck (out, broken collarbone)
Yellow jersey (overall leader): Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Green jersey (points leader): Thor Hushovd (Nor)
Polka dot jersey (mountains): Jérôme Pineau (Fra)
White jersey (best young rider): Geraint Thomas (GBr)