Thor Hushovd of Norway (Cervelo Test Team) claimed the green jersey after a gruesome and cruel race from Wanze in Belgium to Arenberg at the third stage of the Tour de France. It was a bittersweet victory since the treacherous stage claimed fellow cyclist, Frank Schleck of Saxo Bank.
The leading support cyclists for Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) was his brother Frank. However, Frank failed to deliver his defensive talents when he crashed and was badly injured on one of the cobblestone sectors in the race for the yellow jersey. Teammate Jens Voigt expressed his thoughts on the stage 3 race.
“Because of this reckless and dangerous game the organizers have played with the riders’ health, I lost one of my best friends in bike racing due to a broken collarbone.”
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), the Paris-Roubaix champion maneuvered the cobblestones and sprinted away from Lance Armstrong (RadioShack), Alberto Contador (Astana) and the other contenders.
It was a big loss for the seven-time champion Armstrong when he encountered enormous problems negotiating the seven sectors of cobblestones on Tuesday. Also in the losing spree list aside from Armstrong is the reigning champion of Spain, Alberto Contador who at 62kg is not built to run the cobblestone sectors. Surprisingly he finished 1:13 behind the lead contenders.
Armstrong finished at 2min 08sec behind Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), Andy Schleck of Australia and Geraint Thomas of Britain, putting him at the 32nd place. However in the overall category, Fabian Cancellara leads by 22sec over Team Sky’s Thomas and running up in 3rd is Evans.
Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) loses to Cancellara and gives up the yellow jersey. Chavanel encountered several bike changes during the race. He places fifth overall.
Evans comes in second, Andy Schleck at sixth and Contador in ninth while Armstrong drops to eighteenth place in GC.