Stage 3 – Beauvais to Amiens. 160km
Beauvais is a city located not far from Paris and is the area where Ag2r rider Christophe Riblon grew up. He was hoping to do something today, but the finish is flat and the stage is pretty fast. Christophe likes the long, hard stages such as l’alp D’huez and Mount Ventoux, where he has won stages of the Tour de France. Beauvais is interesting in that it has a huge 10th century cathedral as well as many other medieval buildings. In the past it was a huge city in the north of France.
Today’s stage passes through mostly farm lands surrounding Paris. The stage started by letting a 7 man break go off. They gained about 4 minutes at one point and then the action started. About midway into the race, FDJ and some other just put the hammer down and caused a huge split in the group and then a crash happened. That split the group even further. Then towards the last 10 kilometers, Sylvain Chavanel and a rider from Armee de Terre, Thomas gained about a 20 second advantage with 4 kilometers to go. This where a strong rider like Chavenel shines. But Ag2r and FDJ were not going to let him take the win. Then all of the sudden a Direct Energie rider took a huge fall about 3km from the finish. He banged himself up pretty good and had a cut around his eyebrow. We cleaned up a lot of blood nonetheless. Meanwhile, Chavanel buried himself to the max and this allowed Thomas to sprint and take it to the finish, denying Marc Demare any chance of victory. The winner of the stage was the Thomas, from the continental team Armee de Terre. That is a big deal given there are 4 pro tour teams here.
Update on Stijn Vandenberg. He is reported to be doing better, sitting up, and eating. He will be fine. It goes to show how resilient some of these guys are.
Tomorrow is Calais to Le Portel. 166km