Gerrans wins Tour stage 3

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 02 Juli 2013 | 19.55

SIMON Gerrans hit the target again and collected Orica-GreenEDGE its first Tour de France stage win.

The whole operation was textbook perfect.

It was a win borne of pure class and selfless team commitment.

Simon Clarke was in the early breakaway so the rest of the team could sit back and protect Gerrans.

Once caught, he then helped Cameron Meyer and Michael Albasini chase down the late attack. The teamwork was then topped off by a flawless Daryl Impey leadout.

The whole operation was textbook perfect.

Best shots from Stage 3

Gerrans had pinpointed this stage some months ago and had been specifically preparing for it.

He is a role model for young athletes of any sport because he does the things that don't require talent. He trains right, he rests right, he eats right. Anything that is in his control he does right.

As for Clarke's bid to get the king of the mountains jersey, while in the early break, he raced exactly as he did as a 16-year-old at the Warragul Junior Track Carnival: attack, attack, attack. 

There's plenty more to come from the 26-year-old Clarke. 

Next stop is the team time trial and the first shuffling in the general classification for the main contenders.

Prior to the crashes on stage one Chris Froome's Sky team were the clear favourites for this stage. 

But things have changed.

Two of the major engines selected to drive the Sky train, dual Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas and former British champion Ian Stannard, were among the victims of the stage one carnage.

Thomas is the most seriously injured with a slight fracture of the pelvis which saw him struggle to get his leg over the bike at the start of stage two.

With a team that also includes Tasmania's Richie Porte, they are still among the favourites but these injuries will hurt.

For Cadel Evans his BMC team is looking good. BMC finished second in the team time trial in 2011 and six of the nine riders in this year's Tour were part of the team two years ago. This will give them plenty of confidence.

Before the Tour BMC probably would have signed on for simply not losing time to Froome. Now Evans may be holding out hope of taking time on his rival. 

The same can be said for Alberto Contador and his Saxo-Tinkoff team. 

The dark horse for the stage is Movistar, which includes top five contender Alejandro Velverde and two of the sport's young excitement machines – Columbian Nario Quintana and Rui Costa of Portugal.

Last year's Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) opened up with a team time trial and Movistar won it. They could deliver a big surprise on stage four.  

But with the injuries at Sky the team to beat is Garmin-Sharp, which includes young South Australian Rohan Dennis. 

They have a great record in this discipline and won the corresponding stage in 2011. 

A win for Garmin-Sharp could deliver David Millar into the yellow jersey 12 years and 362 days since he last led the Tour. This will be a record for the longest gap between stints in yellow.

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