While a number of teams suffered through crashes and time splits on stage 3 to Boulogne-sur-Mer, RadioShack-Nissan broke the trend and enjoyed a successful stage in the Tour de France. Fabian Cancellara retained his overall lead while Frank Schleck and Andreas Kloden remained upright and with the leaders. The team have made no secret of their intention to keep yellow for as long as possible and their domestique Jens Voigt believes that their grip on the Tour could last well into the second week.
When asked how long RadioShack could keep the jersey he told Cyclingnews: "That's easy. How many more days until Paris? That's how long we want to keep it. Just kidding. Well, realistically we expect sprinters days now, there's no more hilly top finishes like we had on the first stage or like we had today. As I said, we expect classic sprinter stages and so we expect help from the sprinters' teams. We really think we can keep it without killing ourselves until the stage to La Planche des Belles Filles and then, in the ideal scenario, Frank Schleck takes over, Fabian then takes it back in the time trial and then we're just smoking. Remember my words."
Voigt's optimism aside, RadioShack will be aware that the last few days have signified their most successful stint of 2012. A year of public infighting between riders and Johan Bruyneel, as well as a string of meagre results have been replaced or at least covered up by a run of positive headlines.
The main beneficiaries have undoubtedly been Cancellara and Schleck, and the latter explained to Cyclingnews that while his team had worked on the front for long spells of a difficult stage it had helped keep their aspirations intact.
Voigt agreed with his team leader, descending from the team bus with clear enthusiasm. "Like every other team in our situation we had two objectives for today. One was to keep the yellow, objective two was to keep everyone upright and on their bikes. Fortunately for us we achieved both. Fabian kept the yellow, fuck he's a legend isn't he? I just love to be in a team with him.
"We kept everyone safe and out of trouble. It was a lot of work but I knew when I came that would be my job so there's no complaining from me. We could do two jobs with one goal, keeping Frank and Fabian out of trouble - and don't forget our secret Andreas Kloden, he's another one we tried to keep out of trouble. It was a lot of work physically for Popovych and me but it's a lot easier for us and the boys and that's what counts."
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