Petacchi Wins Stage 3 of Tour; Nazon Takes Maillot Jaune
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his second stage of this year's Tour de France.
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his second stage of this year's Tour de France. The Italian speedster bested former world champions Romans Vainsteins (Vini Caldirola) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) to win the rolling, 167.5-km run from Charleville-Mezieres to Saint Dizier in 3:27:39. Jean-Patrick Nazon (Jean Delatour) has taken the maillot jaune from Brad McGee (La Francaise des Jeux.com).
After a number of abortive sallies, Anthony Geslin (Brioches La Boulangere) escaped at 83 km. His lead maxed out at about 3:30 before the sprinters' teams began to chase. The bunch reeled in Geslin at 152 km.
The sprinters' teams battled at the front. No team had clear control. Petacchi, Vainsteins, and Freire battled through the chaos to fight for the stage win. Petacchi attacked from a long way out and held off Vainsteins, Freire, and Erik Zabel (Telekom). Nazon finished second, first, and second, respectively, in the day's intermediate sprints and picked up enough seconds to take the yellow jersey. Nazon is the first Frenchman to wear the maillot jaune in two years.
With 250 m left, Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) crashed after bumping into Baden Cooke (La Francaise des Jeux.com) and green jersey wearer Robbie McEwen (Lotto). McEwen accused Haselbacher of bumping him, but Haselbacher told Roadcycling.com that McEwen bumped him from behind, causing the Gerolsteiner man to tumble head over heels.
In the overall, Nazon leads McGee by 0:08 and David Millar (Cofidis) by 0:12. Nazon will probably not wear the maillot jaune after Stage 5. The rolling, 69-km team time trial from Joinville to Saint Dizier should be a standing shaker. Look for U.S. Postal Service, ONCE, and CSC to dominate the event. Will U.S. Postal Service put Lance Armstrong into the yellow jersey? Will ONCE move as a squad into the lead, as they did for a time last year? Will Captain Courageous, Tyler Hamilton, propel his CSC teammates to victory despite his broken collarbone? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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