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Tour de France Stage 3: Fourth of July fireworks for Farrar as he sprints to maiden TDF stage win

American joins select group of riders to have won stages in all three Grand Tours

Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Cervelo celebrated Independence Day in style this afternoon, winning his maiden Tour de France stage at Redon in Brittany. He joins a select group of riders to have won stages in all three Grand Tours. The American benefited from an exemplary leadout from mailot jaune Thor Hushovd, who retains the race lead, but the Norwegian and HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish were disqualified from the intermediate sprint after going shoulder to shoulder as they chased points. Cavendish was fifth on the stage, with Vacansoleil's Romain Feillu coming through strongly to finish second and Jose Rojas of Movistar, who now leads the points competition, third.

After crossing the line, Farrar  made a 'W' sympbol with his hands in tribute to his friend, Wouter Weylandt, who died during the Giro d'Italia in May, which led to the American pulling out of that race fter joining the Belgian's Leopard Trek team to cross the line in the neutralised Stage 4 in tribute to him.

It's turning out to be a happier Tour for Farrar as well as his Garmin Cervelo team. After a string of near-misses in recent years, they secured their first Tour de France stage win in yesterday's Team Time Trial, and now they've added their first individual victory.

There were chaotic scenes behind the winner, however, as a number of riders hit the tarmac following a tight left-hand bend into the home straight, apparently after one clipped a spectator leaning over the barriers.

Among those brought down was Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, to the apparent surprise of Geraint Thomas who put in a huge burst into a headwind to go off the front of the peloton to lead out the Norwegian only to turn round and discover he wasn’t there.

When the route of this year’s Tour was unveiled last autumn, the wind had been seen as playing a potentially decisive role in today’s stage, but as it turned out there wasn’t so much as the faintest of breezes early on to take the edge off baking temperatures as the peloton bade farewell to the Vendée and headed into Brittany.

Before long, the day’s break had got clear of the peloton, comprising five riders – Dutchman Niki Terpstra, now at Quickstep following four years with the defunct Milram team, the Spanish pair Ruben Perez and Jose Gutierrez of, respectively, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Movistar, and two French riders, FDJ’s Mickael Delage and AG2R’s Maxime Bouet.

The latter is perhaps best known for the admonishment he got from maillot jaune Fabian Cancellara after he popped out of a neutralised peloton to nab second place behind lone breakaway rider Sylvain Chavenel on Stage 3 of last year’s race.

Mark Cavendish had said in his pre-Tour de France press conference that despite changes to the points system he wasn’t too concerned about targeting intermediate sprints and would instead target stage wins in his pursuit of the green jersey.

Perhaps he was trying to lay a smokescreen for his rivals. Certainly today he fought hard to gain as many points as he could at the intermediate sprint at Saint-Hilaire-de-Chaleons, he and Hushovd apparently leaning into each other before sprinting ahead of the bunch to pick up the maximum 10 points on offer to the main bunch.

The race jury clearly thought that the tussle between the pair had been too physical, stripping both of the points they had won following the end of the stage. Cavendish and Hushovd have history, of course - the HTC-Highroad man still feels he was robbed of the points jersey in 2009 when he was disqualified from the points on one stage after being adjudged to have ridden across the Garmin-Cervelo rider's line.

While the Manxman can't complain that he has been treated more harshly than his rival today, it is he who stands to lose more, with Farrar not Hushovd being Garmin-Cervelo's main hope for the points jersey, and Cavendish of course losing more points to boot.

Minutes before that hard-fought sprint, Delage had scooped 20 points for being the first member of the break across the line.The Frenchman, awarded the day’s combativity prize, also took the solitary mountain point on offer as the five escapees crossed the Category 4 climb of the soaring Pont Saint-Nazaire over the River Loire.

At one point they had held a lead of more than 7 minutes over the peloton, but as they crossed the river into Brittany, where big crowds reflected the region’s status as one of France’s cycling heartlands, that gap had been brought down to little more than 2 minutes as Garmin Cervelo led the bunch in keeping them in check, working on behalf of yellow jersey Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar, who had his eyes on a Fourth of July stage win.

The toil of tackling that climb caused problems back in the peloton, with around 40 riders getting dropped off the back and having to chase hard to get back onto the bunch, with Katusha’s Vladimir Karpets also suffering a mechanical problem and having to wait for his team car to come through so he could change bikes.

The five escapees were eventually brought back into the bunch with just 9 kilometres left to ride as the sprinters’ teams looked to set up the inevitable bunch finish, with HTC Highroad inevitably most prominent at the front of the peloton.

As the road rose up as it entered the closing three kilometres, first Lampre-ISD’s Danilo Hondo then Vacansoleil’s Marco Marcato went off the front as they sought to thwart the bunch finish. They were quickly overhauled as Matt Goss and Mark Renshaw worked to set Cavendish up for the sprint, but the Manxman was out of position in the frenetic finale and finished fifth. His mood is unlikely to have been improved by the subsequent news that he'd lost the points he believed he'd accrued earlier on.

Tour de France Stage 3 Result

1  FARRAR Tyler           GARMIN - CERVELO           4h 40' 21"
2  FEILLU Romain          VACANSOLEIL-DCM         All at same time
3  ROJAS Jose Joaquin     MOVISTAR
4  HINAULT Sébastien      AG2R LA MONDIALE
6  HUSHOVD Thor           GARMIN - CERVELO
7  DEAN Julian            GARMIN - CERVELO
8  BOZIC Borut            VACANSOLEIL-DCM
12 TURGOT Sébastien       EUROPCAR
13 HAGEN Edvald Boasson   SKY PROCYCLING
14 MEERSMAN Gianni        FDJ
15 THOMAS Geraint         SKY PROCYCLING
17 BONNET William         FDJ
18 KLÖDEN Andréas         RADIOSHACK

Tour de France Overall Standings after Stage 3

1  HUSHOVD Thor          GARMIN - CERVELO            9h 46' 46"
2  MILLAR David          GARMIN - CERVELO             + 00' 00"
3  EVANS Cadel           BMC RACING                   + 00' 01"
4  THOMAS Geraint        SKY PROCYCLING               + 00' 04"
5  GERDEMANN Linus       LEOPARD-TREK                 + 00' 04"
6  HAGEN Edvald Boasson  SKY PROCYCLING               + 00' 04"
7  SCHLECK Frank         LEOPARD-TREK                 + 00' 04"
8  SCHLECK Andy          LEOPARD-TREK                 + 00' 04"
9  FUGLSANG Jakob	 LEOPARD-TREK	              + 00' 04"
10 WIGGINS Bradley	 SKY PROCYCLING	              + 00' 04"

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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drheaton | 13 years ago

Awww, I thought Roman numerals were making a come back!  2

Simon_MacMichael | 13 years ago

Heh, no, but it is a sign that I was going to check exactly when the catch was made before posting but due to some unexpected IT issues it went out of my mind  3

TheFatAndTheFurious | 13 years ago

The five escapees were eventually brought back into the bunch with just XX kilometres left to ride

Is this a sign that radios are making the race so predictable that reporters can write their copy before the event, and then just replace the XX placeholders?

Grumpy Bob | 13 years ago

Well, I use twitter for a number of reasons, which don't include getting race results. No problems with the article title, but perhaps the twitterer could edit the tweet before posting?
The difference is I choose whether or not to go and visit a cycling website; tweets just come up in my Twitter feed, and being as how they are only 140 characters, tend to make themselves known to my neural system fairly quickly!
Anyway, problem is solved from now on, as I won't be seeing roadcc tweets until the TdF is over...

italiafirenze - but you've *chosen* to follow those newsfeed twitter accounts!

dave atkinson replied to Grumpy Bob | 13 years ago
Grumpy Bob wrote:

I won't be seeing roadcc tweets until the TdF is over...

I think unfollowing us is the best thing to do if you don't want news about cycling. We are a cycling news website, after all  1

Grumpy Bob | 13 years ago

You should be a bit more careful not to include spoilers in your tweets. I've unfollowed you for the duration of the Tour de France.

italiafirenze replied to Grumpy Bob | 13 years ago

Isn't twitter about getting the news first? As it happens? I've a dozen people I'm following who give live updates on racing as it happens.

JonMack replied to Grumpy Bob | 13 years ago

Grumpy by name, grumpy by nature!

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