July 04, 2005
Stage 3 underway
Typical sprint stage going. Three men are away: Erik Dekker of Rabobank, AG2R's Nicolas Portal, and Saunier Duval-Prodir's Rubens Bertogliati. Bertogliati briefly was the race leader on the road, and has taken 14 bonus seconds on the day, but the peloton is starting to close them down now.
Bertogliati was one of the last 2 riders named to their team's Tour squad.
Bouyges Telecom did a lot of the early chase work to try to preserve Thomas Voeckler's polka-dot jersey, taken over by Erik Dekker, who took 1st over the last two 4th-category climbs today.
There was a minor disruption near the back of the field when the road suddenly narrowed; doesn't look like anyone is hurt.
The leaders are only a little more than a minute up the road from the peloton now, with Davitamon-Lotto, Quick Step, and Credit Agricole driving the field.
Dekker is pouring his heart into staying away, but the field is 45 seconds back. I can't see the trio surviving.
Now Bertogliati has fallen back into the field, but Dekker and Portal continue to fight maybe 25 seconds up the road, with 10 kilometers to ride. The escapees are hoping there will be some hesitation in the peloton, but the gap is now 15 seconds -- the duo is doomed.
With 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to ride, the leaders are in sight. Dekker and Portal have 5 seconds, but they're still driving as hard as they can.
With 2 kms to ride, Dekker and Portal are swallowed up, and Fabian Cancellara takes a flyer! Strange to see a Fassa Bortolo breaking away late in a sprinters' stage. Cancellara is swept up with 1 km to go.
Sprinters to full boil, and Boonen takes another stage win, ahead of McEwen, Hushovd, Cooke, O'Grady: Right at the end, O'Grady and McEwen got into it as O'Grady tried to slingshot off Boonen as McEwen was trying to do likewise. McEwen leaned pretty heavily into O'Grady for a lot longer than was necessary.
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I felt so bad for Erik Dekker and Nicolas Portal who led until within the last two kilometers before they were caught. Dekker especially gave a lot of heart. A perfect example of the power of the peleton over a few individuals.
Posted by: Devans at Jul 4, 2005 8:28:17 PM
I really wish you would post more about Lance Armstrong. People in the US don't want to here about whatever his name was in the third stage. We want to know how Lance is doing.
Posted by: Tyler Booth at Jul 5, 2005 12:21:17 PM