Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Le Tour 2010 - Stage 3 - Cavendish finally gets a point; McEwen gains time on GC, leaps over Leipheimer

Finally we can see the hidden intent behind this year's tour. It's not about Boonen's absence, Hushovd's fine victory after Stage 2's debacle or even Cadel's rise up the GC. It's not even about team collusion to thwart racing. It's about surprise.

Today Mark Cavendish surprised us all with a fine ride in the points classification, gaining his first point in the race for the green jersey. Defending champ Thor Hushovd disappointed in comparison with a gain of just 35 points, leaving him with a precarious lead overall of just 62 points on the best road sprinter in the world. If you remove the non-sprinters from that classification we have Thor ('God of the Pebbles' according to Mike Tomalaris) leading old man McEwen (38 points) at this early stage. Mind you, those non-sprinters include Evans on 28 points with a track record for picking up points along the way, so I'd expect more surprises as the race progresses.

Robbie McEwen has also staked a claim on GC in a stealthy move on the cobbles. By winning the 3rd-bunch-in kick to the line (leaving aside Alberto Contador's surprising bunch of just himself) McEwen has gained time on just about everyone (except the riders ahead of him, of course). Importantly Robbie has leapt over leaping Levi Leipheimer, leading the Californian by 1 second at 2m 52 seconds overall. Expect more suprises from the veteran sprinter as the race nears the Alps. 
Meanwhile Sastre and Basso (at 3m 19s and 3m 20s respectively) have their work cut out to make up ground on just about everyone (except, of course, those behind them). No surprises there, really. 

Tour De France: Stage 3, Route Maps & Results |
137 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC - Columbia 1point