A HISTORY OF COBBLES AT THE TOUR
A look back at the impact cobbles have had on the Tour over the past 40 years
Unusually compared to recent editions of the Tour, the cobbles appeared in week two of the race on stage 9. Bernard Hinault, who famously hated the cobbles, had reason to justify his anger as he punctured and lost two minutes to Joop Zootemelk. He still went on to win the yellow jersey in Paris.
A real rarity in that cobbles featured on two stages: 5 and 6. On stage 5 the rain poured, but Hinault and Hennie Kuiper escaped from the peloton. Hinault won the stage yet it was not without sacri ice; a day later on the pavé he began showing signs of tendonitis in his knee and eventually abandoned the race.
With 28km of cobbles on stage 3, this edition features the most kilometres of cobbes featured in recent editions of the Tour. Up-and-coming climber Robert Millar, then on his debut in the race, was among those who crashed, losing 17 minutes on the stage and any hope of inishing on the podium in Paris.
The last appearance of cobbles for almost 20 years in the Tour, apart from a brief visit in 1989. Henri Manders and Leo van Vliet broke away and got a 19-minute lead. But as the cobbles began the peloton started its chase. Dutchman Manders hung on in the inale to win the stage solo by 11 seconds.
Lance Armstrong, in his pomp, set a ierce pace with his US Postal team-mates over the two cobbled sectors that featured in stage 3. Armstrong's Basque GC rival Iban Mayo crashed on the approach to the cobbles and lost four minutes. Mayo had been a hot pre-race favourite, but he lost the Tour on this day.
Seven sectors totalling 13.1km were scattered through the inal 30km of stage 3, which inished at the entrance to the Arenberg Forest. Thor Hushovd won a small sprint from a handful of GC casualties on a hot, dry and dust-choked day; Frank Schleck crashed and broke his shoulder, while Armstrong punctured.
A main dish of 15.4km of cobbles along with a side of pouring rain made stage 5 one of the most entertaining Tour stages in recent years. Froome crashed and abandoned before the irst sector, while Nibali laid down the gauntlet for his overall win by lying fearlessly over the slippery pavé and dropping all his rivals.
Stage 3 featured 13km of cobbles within its 223km. Tony Martin attacked with 3km to go to win the stage solo, as all the favourites stayed upright and together, including Froome. Thibaut Pinot was the biggest loser on the day, as a lat tyre and mechanical meant he lost more than three minutes in the GC.