By Brecht Decaluwé in Nantes
The third stage of the Tour de France became a glorious day for French cycling. A stage win and a yellow jersey were the result of a well timed attack that included Samuel Dumoulin and Romain Feillu. Dumoulin secured his first stage win in the Tour de France, while Feillus third place on the stage was enough to give him the overall lead, the first time since Cyril Dessel took yellow on stage 10 in 2006. During the post race press grill the French journalists couldn't hide their emotions with a big round of applause for the heroes who have put France back on the map of cycling.
The two new French stars embraced stardom by successfully rounding up a breakaway attempt that took off after just one kilometre of racing. While some riders expressed their aversion towards the region of Brittany, both Feillu and Dumoulin will always look back with a smile on the face when they think about this unique French region.
"When we left I thought we had only 5 percent chance of making it to the finish," Dumoulin said. "I was a bit frustrated as I had been feeling bad throughout the first days, and decided to have a go anyway because it's better to ride up front in these nervous stages than in the peloton. When there were less than 50 kilometres to cover I started to believe we would make it."
Dumoulins breakaway companion, Feillu was more upbeat about their chances of success. "Right from the start! I believed in it all day long," he declared to the delight of the Frebch press. "I knew I had a good chance to take the jersey if we made it, as I was only trailing Valverde by 18 seconds.
"The co-operation was good. We could [all] communicate as Frischkorn spoke French. With Paolo we could talk in Spanish. We decided not to go full out, in an attempt to keep control over the peloton. We knew there was a tailwind in the final twenty kilometres that offered us a chance to stay away," explaining the tactics during the breakaway attempt.
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