TdF Stg 3: Gerrans takes it with a bike throw

Doug Pensinger

Simon Gerrans won the second Tour stage of his career in a photo finish with Peter Sagan, capping off an eventful final 20 kilometers of racing up and over the hills of Corsica.

Today's stage went careening up and around the hills of Corsica again, hitting the final climb a mere 13 kilometers from the line, prompting the related questions of whether Peter Sagan would survive the route and whether the overall contenders would trade some early barbs. With the final climb only 3.3km long and with an average gradient of a steep but not cruel 8%, fate seemed destined towards the former, especially given the size of the peloton still remaining at 40 kilometers left to race.

At that point, Radioshack - Leopard was dutifully defending the lead of yesterday's stage winner Jan Bakelants and leading the chase of a five man breakaway containing Sébastian Minard (AG2R), Alexis Vuillermoz (Sojasun), Simon Clarke (ORICA GreenEdge), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), and Lieuwie Westra (Vacansoleil - DCM). Gautier was one second off Bakelants' lead and his presence doomed the break, though Simon Clarke made the most of it by gobbling up all the KOM points on the route, trying to lift the maillot a pois from the shoulders of Pierre Rolland. As the breakaway hit the final climb, Clarke jumped clear to try and secure the final points, but behind him other riders had different plans.

The gap was a mere 10 or 15 seconds when Igor Anton tried to jump clear, followed and passed soon afterwards by Pierre Rolland. Paced by a teammate, Rolland quickly passed and dispatched Clarke before venturing across the top of the climb solo, chased by Euskatel's Mikel Nieve and Belkin's Lars Peter Nordhaug. Would Rolland try to push on for a stage win, and some extra seconds on the general classification? His intent to do so was quickly evident, right as Sylvain Chavanel attacked on the final twisty descent, passing Nieve and Nordhaug in quick succession and joining Rolland a mere minute later. As the road flattened out, all four riders coalesced into a smooth rotation, but behind a chasing cadre of Cannondale and GreenEdge made their chances look slim as they held a mere nine seconds with seven kilometers remaining.

The quartet was caught under three kilometers to go and the battle of quite short leadout trains began. ORICA GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans had the better leadout and jumped with 150m to go with Sagan on his wheel. The Australian rider's lead shrunk all the way to the line but he barely held off Sagan with a bike throw to win the second Tour de France stage of his career. JJ Rojas of Movistar rounded out the peloton behind.

Though he was beaten at the intermediate sprint by Kittel and Griepel, Sagan took over leadership of the points classification after his second podium in as many days. All other jerseys remain in the same hands as yesterday.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.