By Gregor Brown in Nantes, France
United States of America's William Frischkorn (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30) came tantalizingly close to taking a stage win in his first Grand Tour, the third stage of the 95th Tour de France. The 27 year-old formed part of a four-man move that went clear within the first kilometre and managed to stay until the end, where he was bettered by Frenchman Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis).
"I think that today it felt like it was just not another race," Frischkorn examined on the Quai de la Fosse finishing straight.
The escape - also including Paolo Longo Borghini (Barloworld) and Romain Feillu (Agritubel) - gained nearly 15 minutes on the maillot jaune group of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). The gap was pulled back down to two minutes at the finish, but it was enough for Frenchman Feillu to take the race leader's yellow jersey.
"I think about 50K to go, when we had eight minutes, I knew we had a good chance," Frischkorn said of the stage that crossed the gusty Briton landscape in northwestern France. "The directeurs said 'if you can have three minutes with 10 kilometres to go then you have it, once you get that tailwind'."
The harmony of the group broke down after it passed the two-kilometre marker. Dumoulin opened the attacks by firing on Rue Sembat, at 1500 remaining. Frischkorn bridged and the duo briefly held a lead until Feillu came across.
The new race leader Feillu took a small gap that Frischkorn tried to close. "I had thought of attacking right when the first attack went [by Dumoulin], but my directeur was in the ear-piece saying 'don't pull now, careful of Dumoulin'," he added. "I led Dumoulin back on unfortunately, I should had forced him to chase.
"So close," he smiled. "It was exiting, but very disappointing at the same time."
He realised that he proudly represented his team, who is competing in its second Grand Tour. Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 recently contested the Giro d'Italia, where it led the race with Christian Vande Velde after winning the team time trail in Palermo.
"It was great for the morale and the team, but a stage win would have been cool," he added.