Cover: Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez (Team Katusha), Tour de France Stage 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert
Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez (Team Katusha) conquered the Mur de Huy for the stage 3 win at the Tour de France. Chris Froome (Team Sky) was second and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale) was third.
I started the day with some fear after a bad night following my crash yesterday and some knee pain in the morning, but during the day I really felt good and then better and better. The team supported me also very well. It is a pity we had to lose Dmitriy Kozonchuk. I did not see the crash as I was in front of it, but I could hear it. The speed was really high headed in the direction Mur de Huy. I even had to ask Giampaolo Caruso to slow down a bit.
On the Mur everything went well. I attacked with 400 m to go. That is the perfect distance for me. I am explosive and this Mur suits me so well. The last time I wanted to wait a little longer and then I was closed in by others. I did not want to take that risk this time and I went full gas and it was perfect. I am so happy after the fabulous work of the team too.”
– Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
Chris Froome (Team Sky) moved into the overall lead now sitting 1 second in front of Tony Martin (Etixx- QuickStep) and 13 seconds in front of BMC Racing’s Tejay Van Garderen.
It’s an amazing feeling to be back in yellow. If you’d have told me this morning I’d be in the jersey, I wouldn’t have believed you, but it’s amazing. Especially on a day like this which had a punchy climb in the final. That isn’t normally my kind of thing – I’m better on longer climbs – so I was really surprised to see the gaps open up like they did. I knew there would be gaps – but I didn’t expect them to be as significant as they were and allow me to get into yellow.
I’ve got my team-mates to thank for the massive effort they put in. They turned themselves inside out to keep me near the front through the trickiest parts of the race. It was treacherous out there – we were up and down, left and right, and obviously there were the crashes as well. My team did a fantastic job and I couldn’t be happier with them.
It’s never too early to go into yellow, and I’d much rather be in this position than having to make up time on my rivals. We’re going to take it one day at a time now. Tomorrow we’ve got the cobbles so we’ll just have to manage that as well as we can. Something massive has happened every day so far and a lot of time gaps have opened up. I’m not banking on anything at this point and I just hope to get through these next few days with no major issues.”
– Chris Froome, Team Sky
Tour de France 2015 Stage 3: Anvers – Huy 159.5km
More favorable weather greeted the riders this morning in Anvers with mostly sunny skies and less humid conditions than those encountered in The Netherlands. New race leader Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) SUI arrived sporting the 29th yellow jersey of his illustrious career. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) GER wore green as the rightful leader of the points competition and Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) NED continued in the white jersey of the best young rider. The first mountain points were available today with four categorized climbs, 3 cat 4 climbs and of course the cat 3 climb at the finish on the famous Mur de Huy.
Team BMC Racing enjoyed the honor of wearing the yellow numbers of the Tour leaders of the team competition.
A break of four would form immediately and was well established just 10km in. It was made up of Serge Pauwels (MTN-Quhbeka) BEL, Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) CZE, Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) SUI and Bryan Nauleau (Team Europcar) FRA. Two days and two breaks in the bag for Jan Barta. The break would gain a maximum gap of 3:40.
Team Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo marshaled the front of the peloton for their respective GC men; Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. Trek also represented at the front keeping the yellow jersey safe and Movistar helped to keep the break in check with interest in setting up Alejandro Valverde for a possible stage win on the Mur de Huy. Despite the seemingly placid appearance in the pack, the nervous energy would result in a tight leash on the escapees.
As the break was about to be absorbed with 58km to go there were two crashes in rapid succession. The first included the yellow jersey of Fabian Cancellara and the white jersey of Tom Dumoulin. Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) NED would abandon, as would Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) AUS and William Bonnet (FDJ) FRA, who appeared to be injured the worst.
In an unusual move, the race was neutralized briefly due to the carnage. The race would be released before being neutralized a second time and finally, they brought the race to a complete stop. Cancellara obviously shaken seemed lost in indecision of whether or not to continue as the race was stopped awaiting his return. When the race started to roll again it remained neutralized through the top of the first categorized climb removing the points for that climb. Cancellara would continue to sit at the back of the pack and racing would resume with 50km left in the stage.
The race took a few kilometers to regain full momentum and when it did it was Astana and Vincenzo Nibali looking to regroup from their losses the day before. They would split the field to a group of about 60 or so riders, all of the GC contenders present as they approached the intermediate sprint.
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) GER, wearing the green jersey would win the intermediate sprint consolidating his lead in the points classification followed by John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) GER, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, Credit Solutions) FRA and Bryan Couqard (Team Europcar) FRA and Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) GBRand the race was all back together.
With 20km remaining, Fabian Cancellara popped off the back obviously suffering the effects of his earlier crash. His day was done as was his time in yellow.
In the final 10km the race was full gas as it approached the penultimate category 4 climb as well as the lead into the Mur de Huy. Tinkoff-Saxo would drive the pace and splinter the field. The contenders all present.
Fireworks would ensue as they hit the Mur and the flamme rouge led by Joaquin Rodriguez(Katyusha) ESP. Froome, Tony Gallopin and Purito would find a gap on the Mur. Rodriguez would fend off Froome on the steepest part of the climb with 450 meters to the finish. He would win the stage followed by Froome and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-LaMondiale) FRA. Contador would blow and give a few seconds to his rivals as would Vincenzo Nibali.
The yellow jersey would pass to Chris Froome with time bonuses. Tony Martin would miss yellow by one second for the second day in a row. Cancellara would finish over eleven minutes down.
Stage 4 on Tuesday takes the race across the cobbles of Northern France and the high drama of stages 2 and 3 is sure to continue.
Date: 6 July, 2015
Start: Anvers (Antwerp / Antwerpen)
Distance: 154 km
Tour de France 2015 Stage 3 Top 10
- Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) #91
TEAM KATUSHA 03h 26 ’54”
- Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
TEAM SKY 03h 26 ’54” same time
- Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA) #19
AG2R La Mondiale 03h 26 ’58” + :04
- Daniel Martin (IRL) #167
TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE 03h 26 ’59” + :05
- Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
LOTTO-SOUDAL 03h 27 ’02” + :08
- Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
BMC RACING TEAM 03h 27 ’05” +:11
- Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
ASTANA PRO TEAM 03h 27 ’05” + :11
- Simon Yates (GBR) #109
ORICA GREENEDGE 03h 27 ’05” + :11
- Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
MOVISTAR TEAM 03h 27 ’05” +:11
- Bauke Mollema (NED) #141
TREK FACTORY RACING 03h 27 ’05” + :11
Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 3
- Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
TEAM SKY 07h 11 ’37”
- Tony Martin (GER) #114
QUICK STEP-Etixx 07h 11 ’38” + :01
- Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
BMC RACING TEAM 07h 11 ’50” + :13
- Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
LOTTO-SOUDAL 07h 12 ’03” + :26
- Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
BMC RACING TEAM 07h 12 ’05” + :28
- Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
TINKOFF-SAX 07h 12 ’08” + :31
- Rigoberto Uran (COL) #118
QUICK STEP-Etixx 07h 12 ’11” + :34
- Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
TINKOFF-SAX 07h 12 ’13” + :36
- Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
TEAM SKY 07h 12 ’40” +1:03
- Zdenek Stybar (CZE) #116
QUICK STEP-Etixx 07h 12 ’41” + 1:04
Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 3
Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
Polka-dot (KOM): Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
White (Best Young Rider): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
Tour de France 2015 Stage 3 route
Tour de France 2015 Stage 3 route map
Tour de France 2015 Stage 3 profile
Tour de France 2015 Stage 3 climbs
Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.