Wrong turn Boeckmans, Voeckler, Brajkovic, Hutarovich
Peter Sagan has won so many times this year, perhaps he has to get a little creative with his victory salutes so he can keep them straight in his photo book. On stage 1 of the Tour de France it was either a chicken dance or body builder pose, depending on who you ask, and on today's stage 3, he was a running man, a la Forrest Gump.
However, his increasingly effusive antics were not amusing to South African Robbie Hunter. "Great win by Sagan again he, is class! But can't say I enjoy his victory salutes in the face of his competitors!" he wrote on Twitter.
Sagan has stated that his teammates have been suggesting the various celebrations, and not all of the riders object to them. "Totally for Sagan and his crazy salutes, he's 22, he's got plenty of time to grow old and dignified," said David Millar.
Sagan's teammate Ivan Basso is also enjoying the youthful exuberance. "Special atmosphere at Liquigas-Cannondale's home. with the beautiful crazy of Sagan & co I discover a younger Ivan," he said on Twitter.
Notable author Richard Moore suggested one solution for those who object to the antics: "If you don't like Sagan's victory celebrations there's one good way to stop them, chaps."
His colleague Daniel Freibe agrees. "So, are Sagan's celebrations obnoxious? I say no - like he said in presser, people will tune in to see what he does next. Great for sport."
There is no word yet from the UCI, which regulates everything from sock height to saddle tilt, on whether it would follow the National Football League in banning excessive victory celebrations. (LW)
Yellow quest is over for Voeckler
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), last year's French star in the Tour de France, will not be able to repeat his surprising battle for the yellow jersey which ended with a fourth place in Paris. Shortly before the Tour's start in Liège it was doubtful whether Voeckler would be ready to start the race. For most of the season he struggled with knee problems, increasingly in the weeks ahead of the Tour.
Voeckler chose to start the race, but during the third stage from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-mer the charismatic Frenchman finished in a large group at more than seven minutes from the main peloton. Shortly after crossing the line a downhearted Voeckler said the team was running well, having a guy in the breakaway for three days in a row, while fellow team leader Pierre Rolland seemed to be going well. "For me personally, it's clear that things are very negative. To achieve great things... I'll give it another try with the osteopath and tomorrow we'll race again," Voeckler said while standing in the doorway of the Europcar team bus. (BD)
Brajkovic survives three crashes
Janez Brajkovic (Astana) suffered more than most of his top ten rivals at the Tour on stage 3, crashing three times on the stage to Boulogne-sur-Mer but the former Critérium du Dauphiné winner managed to finish amongst the leaders and retain his top 20 place.
"It was just a number of stupid crashes. I came down three times but I'm alive. I didn't lose time and I made it back to the leaders before the final climb. Then I was caught behind the final crash on the sprint for the finish," he told Cyclingnews.
Brajkovic's bad luck came 24 hours after his teammate Borut Bozic was hit from behind and knocked off his bike by a Tour organisation car. The Astana team issued a press release stating that the Slovenian did not suffer any broken bones, but has a badly bruised elbow. (DB)
Wrong turn Boeckmans
The story of the day in the Vacansoleil-DCM team camp was the wrong turn taken just before the finish line by Kris Boeckmans. The team was setting up Marco Marcato for the stage win, but when he was delayed by the crash with 500m to go, Boeckmans decided to have a go since he was well placed.
Finding himself near the front of the race, he put some power to the pedals but unfortunately didn't aim correctly in the final bend, and ended up taking the deviation meant for the race vehicles.
"A top finish was certainly realistic, but I made a mistake. I took a wrong turn on the course and my race was over. It was my own fault."
Hutarovich hoping for better sprint result in Rouen
During the first week of the Tour de France the sprinters receive a couple of chances to eye a stage victory. While world champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) are grabbing most of the attention there's a few more sprinters who believe they have a chance to win. One of them is the Belarusian champion with the difficult name, Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ-Big Mat).
On Monday the 24-year-old finished in seventh place. "It was the first bunch sprint. All day long the pace hadn't been very high. In the five final kilometres the pace went up really fast. I was able to keep my position near the front of the peloton which wasn't evident. Then in the sprint I was a bit boxed in. At 600 to 500m from the finish line I was in the top-10. Once the sprint got going I was boxed in so I couldn't anticipate," Hutarovich told Cyclingnews on Tuesday morning.
The outcome of the sprint wasn't what Hutarovich hoped for. The sprinter of the French team aimed much higher. "My legs felt ok but with a seventh place I can't be happy. I feel I have the legs to do better. Today's stage [to Boulogne-sur-mer] is going to be much more complicated. There are the climbs in the finale and the uphill finish. Tomorrow [to Rouen] it's going to be better for me." (BD)
Today's Tour de France news
- Brailsford: Cavendish has shown he’s the world's best sprinter
- Belgian province of Limburg to seek 2018 Tour de France start
- Cobo: Wiggins And Froome stronger than in last year’s Vuelta a Espana
- RadioShack-Nissan plans working well at Tour de France
- BMC has mixed fortunes in Tour de France stage 3
- Video: Hesjedal only Garmin-Sharp rider left in Tour de France hunt
- Video: Sagan wants to take green jersey to Paris
- Siutsou's abandon forces rethink for Sky
- Tjallingii, Rojas out after crash-filled Tour de France stage