Thanks to steephill.tv for the picture link.
In a sweltering hot (40c) and windy stage 3, the riders sprinting to the finish were none other than Cadel Evans, Alejandro Valverde and the Portuguese star Manuel Cardoso. Wait, who? Well, it may be the first time you have heard his name, but it now accompanies “TDU-Stage 3 winner.” Cardoso, the Portuguese National Champion, made a convincing final surge which saw him sprint away from two other pretty good riders and a group of the Liquigas team.
Caisse D’Epargne had their eyes set on the win and were advertising with some gusto that they planned to break the race open for one of their riders. That man was supposed to be Alejandro Valverde, but Cardoso had the final word. Valverde got caught up behind Evans and couldn’t close the gap to finish second, a fine, but likely, somewhat disappointing result for the Spanish star.
Andre Griepel couldn’t contend the uphill sprint but didn’t lose time to his main rivals to he still sits ‘comfortably’ atop the GC standings, which have now a interesting introduction. With some drama for Valverde going on in Switzerland, one can only wonder if he has a bit more desire for results early in the season. Now tied for 2nd in the GC with two sprinters, Valverde may be targeting the 5th stage to get time from Greipel, in an attempt to perhaps win this thing. It would make for an interesting but very one-sided Columbia vs Caisse final crit. Stay tuned!
For Video and results
Stage 3 Results:
1 CARDOSO Manuel____Footon – Servetto
2 VALVERDE Alejandro__Caisse d’Epargne @ 01′
3 EVANS Cadel________BMC Racing
4 SAGAN Peter________Liquigas – Doimo
5 FINETTO Mauro______Liquigas – Doimo
General Classification after 3
1 GREIPEL Andre______HTC-Columbia___9:53:38
2 HENDERSON Greg____Team Sky______0:00:14
3 STEEGMANS Gert____Team RadioShack
4 VALVERDE Alejandro__Caisse d’Epargne
5 McEWAN Robbie______Katyusha______0:00:16