The Tour de France's first ever visit to Corsica is now over, the riders having jetted across to Nice for tomorrow's Team Time Trial, while the rest of the race entourage follows on a ferry whose bar is likely to do record trade during the seven-hour crossing. Today's Stage 3 was spectacular and thrilling, Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans proving that homework is worthwhile as he pipped Cannondale's Peter Sagan to the stage win. Here's some reaction.
Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge, today’s stage winner
“I guess I surprised quite a few people a little bit today, including myself. I knew there weren't too many sprinters left in the front group. Peter Sagan is a guy who can often climb with the best climbers and sprint with the best sprinter so I'm really thrilled to be able to beat such a classy rider in a sprint finish like I did today.
“It was a perfectly executed stage today. The plan was to have someone in the breakaway and Simon Clarke did a fantastic job with that; he took all the mountain primes when he was out there and then he was able to pull a turn in the final to chase back that last little group that was off the front.
“I think also had Cameron Meyer and Michael Albasini riding on the front in the final and Daryl Impey leading me out. He finished off the work for me and I was able to come off him in the last 200 metres and... well, hold off Sagan. It was fantastic. I think I caught him by surprise a little bit – him and a few other guys – but I'm thrilled for Orica-GreenEdge to get a win here at the Tour de France.
“This is a stage that I've been targeting for quite some time. We were down here in Corsica last weekend doing a recon and scouting the finishes and it all paid off today.”
Here’s Orica –GreenEdge’s backstage pass video of the day the Australian team took its first ever Tour de France stage win
Jan Bakelants of RadioShack-Leopard, who retains the race leader’s maillot jaune by 1 second
“The team was always in control so there was no need to really panic today. Everything went according to plan.
“The last climb was hard, you could see the top from a long way away and first I started to doubt that I would be there because it looked much harder and steeper than what was described in the road book but we never really had to panic because when [Europcar’s Pierre] Rolland attacked I knew he would open a decent gap but also that it was pretty far to the finish line.
“I thank my colleagues for the work that they gave, it means a lot to me. It was a really nice day.
“We're going to try our maximum [in the team time trial] but realistically there are other teams that are more specialised in team time trials than what we are. It will probably be hard but we have a good team and we'll do the maximum.”
Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, beaten into second place for the second day in a row, leader of the points classification
“I want to wear the green jersey all the way to Paris and I'm happy to be in the lead of this category again. If you want to know about the sprint, you'll have to ask the winner... not me. I was just second.
“I did my sprint but I didn't feel very good after the crash in the first stage. But I'm happy to have the green jersey and I hope that, day-by-day, I feel better because I need to recover after the crash.
“I'm happy to earn points which I also did today but we will see how we can manage in the days to come, especially in the sprints but I hope that the first crash is the only one I have and that I don't crash anymore.”
On top of all that, the Humans Invent podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe is well worth a listen. Here's stage three's half hour, with reaction to the stage and an interview with David Millar.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.