With just one second separating Cadel Evans from the yellow jersey, stage 3 had the potential to be a very dangerous stage for the BMC leader.
Evans stayed out of trouble in the hectic finale, won by Garmin-Cervélo's Tyler Farrar, but the Australian could count himself lucky after George Hincapie and Manuel Quinziato were caught up in a crash with around 25 kilometres remaining in the 198 kilometre stage.
"But it was nothing bad," BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said. "Amaël Moinard and [Ivan] Santaromita did a nice job to bring those guys back so they could protect Cadel in the final."
The top ranks of the general classification unchanged, Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) again pulled on the yellow jersey but it's unlikely that he'll have the same honour once in central Brittany. Evans is the next likely owner, following Tuesday's fourth stage between Lorient and Mûr-de-Bretagne. He was grateful that he made it to Monday's finish incident-free.
"It was a nervous, dangerous stage with a fair bit of wind in the final," Evans said. "It seems they use more and more narrow roads in the Tour. It's great for excitement but puts the risk rating up a bit high. Fortunately, George [Hincapie] and Marcus [Burghardt] kept me in front most of the time."
The 34-year-old's positioning will be just as, if not more important on Tuesday, with a two kilometre climb to the finish which has the potential to split the bunch and create time gaps among the general classification. Given the successful navigation of stage 1, it's a situation where Evans is both confident and comfortable.
"Getting into a good position in the final is always the best way to make time, which is a similar sort of tactic we used on the first stage," he said.
Evans and the man he finished runner-up to on Saturday, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) are expected once again to fight out on Tuesday's stage. The Belgian was three seconds ahead of Evans at Mont des Alouettes and heading into stage 4, is 32 seconds back on the Australian.
Gilbert believes it's "logical" for Evans to be wearing yellow on Tuesday afternoon.
"I could maybe finished five or six seconds ahead of him maximum and that's not enough for me to take the jersey again," he said.
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