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Tour de France shorts: Flying in style to Nice, Schleck impresses in Corsica

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Radioshack kept Jan Bakelants at the front all day

Radioshack kept Jan Bakelants at the front all day (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Andy Schleck (RadioShack - Leopard)

Andy Schleck (RadioShack - Leopard) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gert Steegmans and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)

Gert Steegmans and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A ferry will house the media for the opening stages in Corsica

A ferry will house the media for the opening stages in Corsica (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Gerrans and Sagan weren't sure who won stage 3

Gerrans and Sagan weren't sure who won stage 3 (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Andrey Kashechkin (Astana)

Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Yohan Bagot (Cofidis) ready for 2013

Yohan Bagot (Cofidis) ready for 2013 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tour de France peloton take to the sky into Nice

While staff members and equipment took the six-hour ferry trip from Corsica to Nice the peloton were given special Tour de France treatment aboard their flight across to the mainland with a dedicated plane and for some like Peter Sagan, a tour of the cockpit.

Peter Sagan showed-off his shot on Twitter while Adam Hansen also shared a photo of the outside of the plane prior to boarding.

Corsica claims two on the road to Calvi

Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) became the first withdrawal of the 2013 Tour de France, with gastrointestinal distress forcing the Astana rider out of the race in the first hour of Stage 3 on Monday.

Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) also failed to finish, reportedly suffering from food poisoning.

For Kashechkin, it had been a difficult 24 hours, as he had not been able to eat after Sunday's feed zone, and then could only manage a minimal amount at dinner. Forgoing breakfast before Stage 3 and still unwell, it was reported that he was left feeling very lethargic.

"I don't know what I have, but I'm sick and there was no energy in my body. I will go for some tests at home to see if I can determine what the problem is, but I'm sorry to have to leave the Tour de France," Kashechkin said.

Omega Pharma-Quick-Step's TTT squad takes another blow

The OPQS squad has suffered its fair share of injuries in the opening days on Corsica and with Niki Terpstra the next to come to grief, today's team time trial could be a difficult affair.

"I was there at the feed zone trying to take my musette. Suddenly there was a little swing in the peloton. I fell down and have some bruises on my left knee and on the chest from hitting the ground. It's probably nothing serious and I hope this crash doesn't affect me tomorrow in the team time trial," said Terpstra.

The reigning UCI TTT world champions will line-up for the 25km combined effort with current individual world champ Tony Martin battered and bruised but with Michal Kwiatkowski in fourth-overall and Sylvain Chavanel on the same time - one second behind Jan Bakelants (RadioShack Leopard) - they will be giving it everything in the hope one of the two can pull on the yellow jersey at the end of the day.

De Gendt out of GC contention, ready to sacrifice in TTT

Thomas De Gendt had signaled his intention to aim for the top-20 in the individual classification at this year's Tour de France along with a plan to attack on Stage 18 to Alpe d'Huez but after losing another 6:13 on the road to Calvi the Vacansoleil-DCM rider may have to reassess his condition. The Belgian blamed stomach issues on his prior day's time loss and it appears he is yet to recover from the problem.

"I'm not saying I had a lot of strength in my legs after my stomach and intestinal problems from Sunday today, but it was all the better," said De Gendt to Sporza.

"At the end of the day I landed and driven at their own pace on Tuesday fresh out of the team time trial. At the start I will work with Westra me to sacrifice and pace in the squad must uphold. Himself as long as I am 165th in the rankings. This is disappointing, but my preparation was not 100%, so we knew this could happen.

RadioShack Leopard impressed by Schleck

After three days of racing Andy Schleck lies in 45th-place, just one-second behind his teammate and current race leader Bakelants. It's a promising sign for the Luxembourg rider who has struggled to return to his form of old since breaking his pelvis at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2012.

While the race is yet to hit the real mountains Schleck has not only impressed his supporters but also his RadioShack Leopard teammates who duly controlled the peloton on Stage 3 to protect the race lead.

"In the end every one of us worked for Jan, even Andy," said teammate Maxime Monfort on his team site. "I'm also seeing a very relaxed Andy Schleck. He is riding without pressure and looking forward to the last stages of the Tour."

Prior to the start of the Grand Boucle Schleck had announced that he could be the "surprise of July" and with the race set for its first big mountain test on Stage 8 - after a testing Stage 7 - all eyes will be on the former Tour winner to make an impression.