Tuesday, July 6, 2010


If it was a difference-maker the Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme wanted from this stage, he got it.

Shuffled down the list was Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong.  Contador is now in 9th and Armstrong in 18th after a flat tire punctured his pursuit of glory on this day. Yellow Jersey wearer Sylvan Chavanel also got shuffled to 5th place.  Shuffled up into the top 10 are Australian favorite Cadel Evans (now in 3rd) and Andy Schleck (now in 6th).  Evans, Schleck and Contador are the only riders among the current top 10 who have the capacity to win the Tour de France. [See the right sidebar for top 10 in GC after Stage 3]

Stage 3 was won by Norwegian Thor Hushovd.  He muscled to the front and out-sprinted five others for the victory.  Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland placed 6th and reclaimed the Yellow Jersey (he has the lowest overall time accumulated in the Prologue and Stages 1-3).

In the carnage and separations that the cobblestones were to have created, it looks as if Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck emerge with distinct advantages that they will carry into the first mountain stages of next week. Alberto Contador is now over a minute behind Cadel Evans.  Lance Armstrong, who had a chance to win the stage but punctured at a critical moment, is now nearly 2 minutes behind Evans.

Three other contenders who gained significant time in the Stage 3 melee include Russian Denis Menchov (now in 13th), Brit Bradley Wiggins (now in 14th), and Luis Leon Sanchez (now in 17th).

Crashes today claimed Frank Schleck, one of the Tour contenders and brother of Andy Schleck.  American Christian Vande Velde, another contender for the championship, retired from the race after injuries suffered in Stage 2 on Monday.

Complete wrap-up of Stage 3 and latest standings and stats at this Cyclingnews link.

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