Cavendish wins 3rd stage of Tour de France
ANGERS (France)—Mark Cavendish showed off his sprinting experience by edging German rival Andre Greipel in a photo finish to win the third stage of the Tour de France on Monday.
World champion Peter Sagan held on to the yellow jersey he claimed a day earlier.
It was Cavendish’s second victory in this Tour and 28th overall, matching Bernard Hinault for second on the all-time list behind Eddy Merckx, who had 34 stage wins.
On a very slightly uphill finish, Cavendish kept pedaling to the line while Greipel, who was ahead, put his head down a bit too early.
Neither rider knew who won immediately.
Greipel started celebrating but then quickly changed his mind. Cavendish looked around with a blank stare until victory was confirmed. Peter Sagan will don the yellow jersey for the first time at the Tour de France on Monday but he may be in for a bumpy ride.
The 223.5km third stage from Granville to Angers is pan flat but Sagan could be in for a frosty reception from fellow riders following his vociferous attack on the peloton on Sunday evening.
After his stage victory, the fifth of his career but first since 2013, Sagan lambasted his colleagues for reckless racing.
“Now in the group everybody is riding like they don’t care about their life — it’s unbelievable!” he stormed.
“It’s like everybody is riding (as if they) lose the brain.”
He added that the peloton had lost its habit of self-policing but it remains to be seen if that is the case, or whether someone will take umbrage with the popular Slovak.
“It’s not logical. In the group, before there was respect. When someone did something stupid, everybody throws their (water) bottle on him or beats him with (tyre) pumps,” complained Sagan, whose Tinkoff team leader Alberto Contador crashed on both of the first two stages.
“In front, there are a lot of guys that don’t know how to (ride) a bike — it’s like that.
“Today I’m in yellow but maybe tomorrow I will go home (after crashing out), this is the Tour de France.”
Monday’s stage will almost certainly finish in a bunch sprint, meaning there is little chance of Sagan losing the yellow jersey.
All the top sprinters lost time on Sunday’s second stage as they were unable to keep up on the short but tough final climb to the finish.
But for Mark Cavendish, winner of Saturday’s opening stage, Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel, Monday’s stage will provide them with fresh opportunities. And Greipel for one will be relieved. “Nice to know already after the 2nd day @LeTour that the speed the peloton is doing on hilly roads is a little too fast for me,” joked the burly German.
He won four stages in last year’s race — although Kittel was missing from the peloton — but could manage only fourth on Saturday’s opening stage. For the overall contenders it will be a chance to regroup following Sunday’s frantic finale.
Monday will be about staying safe and out of trouble, particularly for Contador after his two crashes.—AFP
Germany’s Angelique Kerber in action against Japan’s Misaki Doi in their Wimbledon fourth-round match at Wimbledon on Monday.