It is only day 3 of  Le Tour and Southern hemisphere cycling induced insomnia has already set in. It is probably not aided by the face that I am trying to get my riding in on the trainer in front of the television set as well. When is that first rest day?

Anyways, a nervous peloton took to the hills of Corsica for the last day of racing on the crazy island. The stage from Ajaccio to Calvi certainly was bumpy, and there was not a straight section of road on the entire route. This further reinforces my opinion that Corsica is a crazy beautiful place that will have to be added This turned into a more traditional Tour stage where a small group of riders in a break would go out for an extended period of time before eventually being hunted down by the peloton. Lieuwe Westra of Vacansoleil was the main instigator for the break dragging with him Simon Clarke from the newly renamed Orica GreenWedge team along with Cyril “Jean-Paul” Gautier (Europcar), Sébastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Alexis Vuillermoz (Sojasun). Clarke had eyes on only one prize – taking the climber’s jersey from Pierre Rolland.

On a side note, Pierre Rolland has fallen significantly afoul of the Velominati rules, particularly Rule #15 – Black shorts should also be worn with leader’s jerseys: Black shorts, or at least standard team-kit shorts, must be worn with Championship jerseys and race leadership jerseys. Don’t over-match your kit, or accept that you will look like a douche. Rolland you look like a douche, in fact he just looks like Mr. Dot. Having said that, I quite often on occasion break rule #17 as I do like my Garmin team kit – hey it’s good kit.

So Clarke chased the points in the climbs, though challenged by a couple of the guys in the breakaway. Secretly I think that Orica GreenWedge have eyes on the polka dot as Clarke has previously won the climber’s jersey at the Vuelta.

The break away group held out for over 120km before it started falling apart, leaving only Clarke out there to chase the final climb’s (the Col de San Bastiano) worth of points. But Rolland, from this year’s showboating Europcar team, would not be denied – jumping out of the peloton to leap frog Clarke and take the final points and keep the polka dots. He then displayed his affinity for a bit of downhill bombing and put on a real show. I think he was trying to go for the win.

Chavanel went hunting, but Gerro on slayed the Tourminator

After Sylvain Chavanel went out yesterday and came up with donuts (nothing, nada, zip), he decided to give it a crack again. This is why I like watching him race, he rides with big stones. After he climbed the final Col he switched the turbo on and joined Mr. Dot. They tried, along with a couple of others, to make it stick but the peloton was looming and the Tourminator (Sagan) was revving up his engine. The last couple of bends leading into the final straight made the deal with some beautiful riding from the lead out trains. It came down to a duel between Orica GreenWedge and Cannondale – pitching Gerrans and Sagan. Gerro timed his jump out from his lead out man Daryl Impey to perfection leaving the Tourminator to make up the gap. They both hammered, and at full speed nearing the line it was a…

Photo Finish!

Neither rider raised their arms from the drops, and everyone thought that Sagan had pipped Gerro at the post but that wasn’t to be. Simon Gerrans was the winner by a wheel rim and I could hear everybody awake at 1am in Sydney on a Tuesday morning rejoicing at the top of their voices. Well at least I did.

The GC boys kept their noses clean with Sky, BMC, and Saxo-Tinkoff all keeping their riders at the front of the pack and out of the banana peels that have so far plagued the peloton. Jans Bakelants kept the Maillot Jaune, with the Jensie pulling the peloton for pretty much the entire stage – impressive. Gilbert (BMC) came up short again, with the curse of the rainbow inflicting its charms. Sky have a major chink in their armour with Gerraint Thomas suffering major battle damage and requiring the application of the “magic” spray while in the saddle. This does not bode well for him tomorrow in the Team TT. Tony Martin still looks like a riding Egyptian mummy. The final highlight for me was Liggett pulling out one of his most famous lines for the first time this year – they were “dancing on the pedals” on stage 3. The lowlight (other than Rolland’s fashion faux pas and Clarke falling short) was Tomalaris having a significant case of foot in mouth in his exuberance for Orica GreenWedge’s first TdF stage win – what was he saying?

TdF 2013 stage 3 winner - Simon Gerrans

For a more serious assessment of the day’s stage:

CyclingNews – Tour de France 2013 Stage 3 Results: http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/stage-3/results

VeloVoices – TdF Stage 3 – Gerrans grabs glory: http://velovoices.com/2013/07/01/tdf-stage-3-gerrans-grabs-glory/

SBS Cycling Central – Gerrans swamps Sagan to make Tour history: http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/road/news/49684/gerrans-swamps-sagan-to-make-tour-history

The Turbo Training Challenge

Three stages down, 20 to go. It was some light riding to turn over the pedals last night, but I was on the torture machine for over an hour. Even though I backed it off last night, I can’t keep myself from accelerating as peloton reaches the finish line. My legs are a bit tender, but there is no time to focus on that – next is Stage 4 back on the mainland at the French Riviera around Nice. Bring it on!

P.S. I think my wife wants July to hurry up already.