Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Take 2: Marcel Kittel Wins Stage Into London

            Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the third stage of the 101st Tour de France from Cambridge to London—his second stage win of this year’s Tour de France. It was 155km pancake flat ride with no categorized climbs, finishing on the mall in front of Buckingham Palace in London. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) finished second, with Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma Quick) rounding out the top 3.

            The riders stormed into the city of London via a tunnel under the Thames River. A light rain and lots of road furniture made the finish a nervous affair. The roads were packed with fans, though, as the peloton finished the final of three days in Great Britain.

            Marcel Kittel was ecstatic after the win saying, “Yeah, on the finish line it was amazing. It was one of the best finish lines I have ever seen in a sprint and the fans were incredible.” On winning stages one and three Marcel Kittel was his humble self, “It’s really really fantastic. That’s what I dreamed of, but it’s not something you can take for granted.”

Status Quo

            A peloton of 196 riders left the town of Cambridge with Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) abandoning the day before. Just like the first two days of the Tour, as soon as the white flag dropped signaling the start of the day’s stage the attacks came. Two riders, Jan Barta (Team Netapp-Endura) and Jean-marc Bideau (Bretagne Seche-Envronnment), quickly established a gap as the huge crowds cheered on the peloton as it left town. Shortly after that Jan Bakelants took a tumble, but got a bike change and returned to the peloton with out much trouble

            The two breakaway riders would reach a maximum advantage of about four minutes during the day. With around 30 km to go the chase was heating up. Sky rider David Lopez bumped a spectator standing to far out into the road. Lopez did not go down, but it sent a chain reaction farther down the field causing a few riders to hit the deck, Andy Schleck and Ted King among them. Schleck got a bike change while King was seen riding next to the medical car getting attended too. Both riders made it safely back to the peloton and finished the stage.

Rain Reeks Havoc

            With about 20 kilometers to go a light rain began to fall making the roads very, very slick. The teams of the GC contenders began taking to the front of the bunch in order to stay out of trouble. Most notably was Alberto Contador who sat third wheel with two teammates in front of him. With all of the riders vying to be at the front, the chase was greatly disorganized. And, Barta and Bideau still had a 30 second advantage over the peloton. Soon after they entered a tunnel to go under the Thames River and into the city of London. Barta came out of the tunnel a lone rider and drove the pace in pursuit of the finish line.

            The streets were packed with fans urging Barta on towards the finish. In fact, an estimated 5 million people had come out to watch the Tour De France in Great Britain these last 3 days. They watched as, with just 6 kilometers to go, it was all over for Jan Barta and the field was now all-together for a bunch sprint finish on the mall in London.

            The run into the finish was quite treacherous with lots of road furniture and the rain making the roads quite slick. At the 4 kilometers-to-go mark Omega Pharma Quick Step had control of the peloton and was trying to set something up for Mark Renshaw. They didn’t see Giant Shimano, who quickly took over, putting Marcel Kittel in the perfect position behind his lead-out man Tom Veelers. They were not even aware of a small crash about midway down the peloton, But instead, kept the pace nice and high. Coming into the 700 meter finishing straight on the mall in London Marcel Kittel had one man left in front of him with Peter Sagan locked onto Kittel’s wheel.

            When Marcel Kittel launched his sprint no one could come around him. Peter Sagan was locked onto his wheel, but did not have the power to come around Kittel in the end. This was Marcel Kittel’s 6th career stage win at the Tour de France. Peter Sagan extended his lead in the green jersey competition over Bryan Coquard (EuropCar) who finished 4th on the day. Meanwhile, there was no change in the overall standings as Vincenzo Nibali retained the maillot jaune over a host of riders 2 seconds back.

            Tomorrow the Tour de France is back in France for another sprint stage. This one taking the riders 163.5 kilometers from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille Metropole. The stage includes only two category 4 climbs, so look for Marcel Kittel to again get the hat-trick of stage wins at this years Tour.
Stage 3 Results:

Stage Winner: Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano)
Yellow Jersey: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
Green Jersey: Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
White Jersey: Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Polka Dot Jersey: Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis)

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