A long, flat, fast stage ending in a mass sprint with Griepel edging out Sagan, Kittel, and Cavendish. Not a very eventful stage in terms of tactics or terrain, but the overall race lead passes from Simon Gerrans to Darryl Impey, who becomes the first rider from South Africa to lead the Tour. Impey was in the first bunch to cross while Gerrans got caught in the second bunch and thus finishes 5 seconds back according to official times assigned. Here’s Impey in yellow:
More than anything, this change of lead shows the importance of the team time trial in stage 4, as the individual standings for the last two days reflect have reflected the Orica — Omega — Sky result. Both Impey and Gerrans are atop the general classification due to Orica’s great ride in Nice. That won’t hold for too much longer, but maybe worth noting.
Not Nacer Bouhanni’s year this year.
It was poor Nacer Bouhanni’s last day, after falling farther and farther behind due to stage 1 crash injuries and intestinal problems. Astana lost Frederik Kesiakoff and almost lost Janez Brajkovic in a crash with 11km to go. Brajkovic was sitting on the road after the small crash, but managed eventually to get to the line.
Sherwen noted that they call Griepel ‘the Gorilla’ because of ‘the large carcass he has to carry around.’ I hope to find a transcript also of the priceless exchange between Paul and Phil about the flamingoes of Aigues-Mortes (I thought it was Eggmort too), which went something like this:
Ligett: And those are the flamingos of the Camargue.
Sherwen: Are those the lesser or the greater flamingos?
Ligett: I’m sorry you asked me that . . .
Sherwen: The greater, as a matter of fact.
Finally, no one can call a sprint like Phil Liggett. Even I got excited (a little)!