Monday, 4 July 2011

#TDF Stage 3 into Brittany

Day three sees us leave the Vendée and enter Brittany. As we leave Olonne-sur-Mer and head to Redon. If only the Redon-Redon race were on a different day than the Paris-Roubaix it may have had previous visits from the Tour. As it is today is the first time that Redon has been a stage town in the Tour.

However, with Thor Hushovd now wearing his third different jersey of this Tour, having started in the Rainbow Jersey of the World Champion, then wearing Polka Dot because Phillipe Gilbert couldn't wear all three yesterday, he now finds himself in Yellow as race leader. Today is a day for the sprinters, indeed the only categorised climb is the top of a bridge. Indeed as Mark Cavendish tweeting "One of the King of the Mountain summits tomorrow is on top of a bridge. Let's see some hands in the air when I actually get over it..." even they aren't taking that too seriously.

However, Hushovd himself has said he is no longer the main man in his own team for, that role on the flat fast stages going to his US  team mate Tyler Farrar, so you might see the unusual sight of the Maillot Jaune being the lead out for a sprinter in the bunch sprint to try and celebrate Independence Day with a win for the Stars and Stripes. But with this being the first real test for the sprinters and tomorrow's finish being another tough uphill finish I'm expecting Mark Cavendish to be giving his all at the end of today to take the honours on the line.

Depending what happens at the intermediate sprint at Saint-Hilaire-de-Chaléons it may also mean that the stage winner can pull on Green at the end of the stage.Cavendish tired to go for that intermediate sprint with the pack on stage one, but sat up when he knew he wasn't going to win that. I expect the sprint teams to go after whatever points they have left again. Knowing that with no points awarded for the Time Time Trial that that jersey could easily move to the eventual stage winner if they score well on the intermediate sprint.

End of the day, I expect a Cavedish the Manx Missile to put a spoiler on the "rocket's red flame" and take the stage win and after a better Sprint from him to possibly also take the Green Jersey.

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