Dumoulin Wins Stage 3 of Tour; Feillu Takes Maillot Jaune
Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) has won Stage 3 of the Tour de France. The Frenchman outsprinted three breakaway companions to win the rolling, 208-kilometer run from Saint-Malo to Nantes in 5:05:27. Will Frischkorn (Garmin) finished second, and Romain Feillu (Agritubel) took third. Feillu has taken the maillot jaune from Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).
Frischkorn ignited the break three kilometers into the race. Dumoulin, Feillu, and Paolo Longo Borghini (Barloworld) joined him, and the quartet led the field by 10:00 at 42 kilometers. The lead ballooned to 14:00 at 70 kilometers.
When the escape's advantage exceeded 15:00, the sprinters' teams went to the front. Columbia, Credit Agricole, Bouygues Telecom, and Liquigas lent muscle to the chase, and at 97 kilometers, the lead was down to 11:00. The gap fell below 7:00 at 143 kilometers. Francaise des Jeux joined the chase, and the gap continued to fall. With 60 km left, a protest by the French labor union CGT blocked the road, but police and race organizers cleared the road for the riders.
Forty kilometers from the line, the bunch led the break by a little more than 6:00. Five kilometers later, the gap had dropped to a shade below 6:00. Quick Step joined the chase, and 5:30 separated bunch and break with 30 kilometers left. Five kilometers later, the chase effectively ended when a crash took down Nicki Sorensen (CSC), Angel Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval), and a Bouygues Telecom rider. Marchante abandoned, and the peloton split. Valverde, Cadel Evans (Silence), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), and George Hincapie (Columbia) made the first group, but Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) were delayed by the crash.
Quick Step began to drive the front group, which took 0:15 out of the second group. With 20 kilometers remaining, the break led the first group by 4:26. With 10 kilometers left, the quartet led the first group by more than 3:00, the second group by 3:50, and the remainder of the bunch by 5:05. One member of the gang of four would win.
With fewer than three kilometers remaining, Dumoulin made the first move. Frischkorn chased the Cofidis man, and Feillu countered with less than a kilometer remaining. Dumoulin tried again and battled past Frischkorn to win.
In the overall, Feillu leads Borghini by 0:35 and Frischkorn by 1:42. Stage 4 should wash away these three riders. The flat, 29.5-kilometer individual time trial in Cholet should see a time trial specialist or perhaps one of the stronger time trialists among the GC contenders win. Who will it be? Fabian Cancellara (CSC)? David Millar (Garmin)? Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)? Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)? Evans (Silence)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!