Monday, July 07, 2008

Stage 3 - Monday, July 7: Saint-Malo - Nantes, 208km

There are four main stories about today's stage of the tour. The least important of these are the protesters. I have yet to figure out what they were protesting and no doubt it's important, but I do not approve of jumping on the podium during a presentation. I don't like them on the route either, but at least it didn't disrupt things too much. And, hey, at least no one is blowing things up along the route (like last year).

The next three stories are all related to the rather fantastic breakaway. The first is William Frischkorn. If you haven't seen this interview, watch it.

I don't really have much to say, except that I'm really proud of Frischkorn and it's too bad he didn't win the stage. But there are 18 more stages left. And this is the Tour de France. You'll never know what will happen.

Story numbers two and three are about France. What about France? Well, for the second day, at least two French riders have been in the break. And what happened today is what I was hoping would happen yesterday, only it wasn't Sylvain Chavanel winning the stage. It was his teammate, Samuel Dumoulin, who took the stage instead. While I would have liked it if Frischkorn would have won, how fantastic was it for the French? This is their race and they had a rider win an early stage! Of course, that wasn't the best part.

What was the best part? Romain Feillu. I know you're asking who is this boy, well. He's a French cyclist (read his wiki entry). He's young and this isn't his first Tour, but it's probably his best. Because, you see, he's got that yellow jersey on. And I'll be perfectly honest, even though the only French rider I long to see in the jersey is Sylvain, I am not at all upset about Feillu. Why? Because this is almost exactly what I wanted.

The finish to the race was fantastic (you can find videos at or Versus), not just because it was a breakaway, but because these three boys fought it out, none of them were going to just let the winner take the stage easily. And, in the end, it was a French rider who won and allowed another French rider to take the stage. How awesome is that? Valverde doesn't have the yellow jersey and no one knows who will get it next. And do I care? Not right now. Because this is the way things should be. Well, mostly.

Disaster did strike the peloton, a few crashes, but the worst being Angel Gomez's crash that split the peloton. Lots of times this doesn't matter because the groups can catch up (unless they're going all out or it's a mountain stage, neither of which was happening), except that the groups decided they wanted to chase. Too late, of course, and my two favorites (I know, you were waiting for this), lost both places and time because they were in the second group (well, third counting the breakaway).
68 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
51 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux
They are both over two minutes back and I don't know that those are, at least for now, odds that they can overcome. Of course, they are stage winning hopefuls, so you never know what'll happen. As a fan, I just want them to win stages and any jerseys they might take are bonuses. Well, if Sylvain ended up in yellow, I don't know what I'd do.

Tomorrow is the ITT and I can't wait. I should be around to watch most, if not all, of this stage. Then back to taping again on Wednesday and probably Thursday too (because my car isn't completely fixed). Tomorrow, though. Tomorrow I get Sylvain in the French ITT kit and I cannot wait.

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