After yesterdays confusing go-slow finish, Thor Hushovd received his redemption.
Hesjedal going it alone on the cobbles.
The racing on todays critical stage 3 over the cobbles proved a delight for some and misery for others. Frank Schleck abandon after falling on the cobbles with a broken collarbone. Bad luck for brother Andy as his 'part two' will be missing especially on the key mountain stages. Saxo Bank has one of the strongest teams as Cancellara shepherded Andy Schleck over the cobbles. A climber flying over the pave was a surprise as Andy had a beast of a day. Armstrong's luck on the fabled cobbles slowed with punctures as he lost crucial time dropping to 18th overall.
A gem of a ride for Garmin's Ryder Hesjedal finding the right moment and going for it. He looked capable and drove off himself looking for stage glory. I crossed my fingers that he would do it. A solo finish would not be his, for now, as the roaring chase group starring Cancellara, Andy Schleck, Cadel Evans, Geraint Thomas and the God of Thunder caught the Canadian.
Hushovd was delighted and confidently won the stage and acquired so many points to take the green jersey. Looking a far different rider from stage 2. I smiled that he finally conquered the cobbles a sort of mini Paris-Roubaix win for him. And the cobbles was king for Hesjedal as he climbed the podium for the best aggressive rider. He wears a red number for tomorrow's stage 4. He finished 4th and sits fourth overall. Garmin's unlucky stage 2 was now memory and today they all dug deep for a huge victory. Brimming with confidence, Hesjedal said, "It's the nature of the sport. Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail. Today I was the nail. I have 20 days now to be the hammer."
Sky looks high as the amazing Geraint Thomas took second and now he's in second overall with the Young riders white jersey. If he can climb well Bradley Wiggins, finishing in a fine eighth, will have a valuable ally. Cadel Evans was the big winner of the GC hopefuls taking third and leapfrogging over Andy Schleck (6th overall). The world champion looked so strong on the pave and looking like he enjoy's the hard races, reminiscent of his Giro stage win over the Montepaschi course. He's positioning himself for a good stab at the overall and this is looking like his year!
Hushovd & Thomas on pave form.
Looking fine in Green!