After two days of chasing time-bonus sprints to try to get his hands on the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de France, Australia's Stuart O'Grady did it the old-fashioned way on Tuesday -- by finishing in the lead group of stage 3.
Meanwhile the race leader at the start of the day, Rabobank's Marc Wauters, fell far behind on the difficult climbs in the Ardennes region of Belgium.
At the finish line in Seraing, Telekom's Erik Zabel took his second stage win of the week, thanks to the smooth teamwork of his Telekom team, while O'Grady finished in the pack, but took the race lead by 17
Stage Winner: Erik Zabel (G) Deutsche Telekom in 4:34:32----------------------------------Overall Lead: Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit AgricoleSprinter: Erik Zabel (G) Deutsche TelekomClimber: Benoit Salmon (F)AG2RUnder 25: Florent Brard (F) Festina
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Rather than have a VN editor in the States tell you what you're about to see, today you'll get the details straight from Casey B. Gibson's email:
"Photos include the family of Marc Wauters as the race passed through his home town, the day he wears the Yellow Jersey. Very cool, and he rode right into their arms. Must have been every TV camera and photog in Belgium there as well, and there were so many in the street it almost stopped the peloton.
"The shot of Lance and Freddie is as they swerve to avoid the mayhem.
"The finish was very hard, and must have blown quite a few. George looked
If I think about it, the racing thus far has been about as I would have expected, but I forget how hard the first week of the Tour is. You remember all of the mountain stages, but this first week comes as a shock every time. And it’s not over yet.
The Giro was hard the first week, too, and, like here, there were lots of crashes. But there were always times on each stage where the riders would all relax, and you knew nobody was going to attack. It just had a natural rhythm to it, and you would get 30-50K that was easy. In the Tour, though, there is never an easy pace where guys are just