Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Stage 3 - Tuesday, July 4: Esch-sur-Alzette - Valkenburg (Netherlands), 216 km

Dude to family obligations and the holiday, my update is again a day late. But, hey, that's life, right? Hopefully today's will be posted tonight, but work gets in the way, too. Anyway, onto the stage.

On the one hand, this stage was pretty awesome. A break that stayed away, a rider who give it a go and won and a couple of crashes. Of course, the crashes were much worse than the usual run of the mill crashes. Cyclingnews has a rundown of the crashes, so I won't rehash them here. I will say that I am sad to see Valverde go because it would have been nice to him win (even though I've some how started to root for Landis), the tour or stages, it didn't matter. But now he's out and that's just to sad.

Of course it's a bit worse for Erik Dekker. Not only did he abandon, but he was knocked out. And, of course, this was probably his last Tour. Very sad. I hope all the victims of the crashes heal fast. I think, sometimes, people forget that cycling is sometimes dangerous. I know that when I showed some of my friends the pictures of Dekker and Rodriguez, they were very surprised. And then, of course, I had to tell them that the pictures were as bad as they looked, unlike with Hushovd yesterday.

Not everything sucked, though. There is a new young rider, Marcus Fothen and a new king of the mountain, Jérôme Pineau. And, of cousre, Hushovd is no longer in the yellow jersey. I'll get to that in a moment.

What happened? Well, once the break was caught, it was a flurry of attacks (including one by Philippe Gilbert) and one of them was successful. At the end of stage two, Kessler had tried and come so close to winning the stage, only to be swallowed up by the peloton. He'd gone to early and lost his chance. But today? It was a complete different story. He timed it exactly right and managed to stay away. And then he won. It was really good. And to make the day even sweeter for T-Mobile, Michael Rogers beat everyone else to the line for second.

Unfortunately for Thor Hushovd, he was caught behind a crash and ended up losing the yellow jersey after having fought Tom Boonen hard for it on stage two. Which left us with Boonen in both the yellow jersey (not too happy, though -- it was obvious that he wanted to win the stage) and the green jersey. But winning the yellow jersey for at least a stage in your home country is good, so Boonen does have that.

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