I often hate that my internal clock still goes off at 5:30 AM....but now that the Tour de France is going on I am actually very happy to be getting up that early! I have always been drawn to the Tour de France and for the first time in many years I am able to actually watch the live coverage in its entirety and I could not be happier about this!
So stage three was a 197 km that took the riders from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer. The stage was classified as rolling and most of that rolling was done in the final 60 km's. All 198 riders took the start and at 5 km into the stage a breakaway of 4 riders took off. Included in this group of 4 was current KOM Leader Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinoff) who has become a familiar face in the breakaway's in this years Tours as he has been in the breakaway on each stage so far. The stage was relatively calm until the main field hit the kilometers just before the intermediate sprint at km 119. This year the organizers have changed up the Green Jersey competition a little and the intermediate sprints have a lot more points on offer...so that means that the sprinters who wish to wear Green into Paris have to pay attention to the intermediate sprints and it sure has been making for some exciting racing. And I think that with this sprint we have a "New Look" that we can all reference. If you remember back to 2001 there was a "famous" look given and it is always something that is talked about each year...I think that the "New Look" is better and should be what we see from here on out...what do you think? Check out the The Look and The New Look and let me know what look you think is better.
After the intermediate sprint the pace settled back down but the riders did not as the field moved onto narrow roads. The narrow roads and the nerves of the first week caused several crashes and two riders had to abandon the race. The breakaway was caught with about 10 km to go and after a short stint all together Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) took off going for the win on the same finish that he won the French National Championship on a few years back. Chavanel looked like he might be able to pull the win off...but the charging field had other ideas...or better yet Peter Sagan had other ideas as he blew the field away and even gave us a running man salute when he crossed the line. Sagan is only 22 years old....and I can tell you that I am looking forward to watching him for years to come!