Australian Simon Gerrans handed his Orica-GreenEdge team their first win in the Tour de France on Monday after claiming stage three.
A nice contrast from the embarrassment of stage one when the team’s bus caused havoc after getting stuck under the finish line’s overhead banner with the riders fast-approaching.
Stage three’s adventure took the peloton over 145.5 kilometres from Ajaccio to Calvi – the final outing this edition on the stunning island of Corsica.
A five-man breakaway animated the day’s action but the main bunch swallowed them up on the final second-category climb up the Col de Marsolino – 15 kms to the line.
That same climb took its toll on most of the sprinters who slowly but surely fell off the pace.
But fans weren’t denied a thrilling sprint finish as Gerrans and Slovakia’s Peter Sagan went wheel to wheel for top honours that eventually went to Australia’s 2012 national road race champion.
Sagan had to settle for second but he did take the green jersey for the
points classification off Germany’s Marcel Kittel. Spain’s Jose Joaquin Rojas rounded off the stage three podium.
Belgian Jan Bakelants retained the overall leader’s yellow
jersey. He tops a rather congested leaderboard one second clear of 71 other riders including Team Sky’s title hope Chris Froome.
Stage four of the 100th edition of the race is a team time trial in Nice.