REDON, France (VN) — Tejay Van Garderen got his first taste of riding the HTC-Highroad train in Monday’s stage. The Tour rookie got at the nose of the peloton in the closing kilometers to shut down the day’s main breakaway and try to set up captain Mark Cavendish for victory.
Cavendish got swarmed in the finale as Garmin-Cervélo had three riders to set up Tyler Farrar. Van Garderen said it’s all part of his learning experience at the Tour.
“It’s pretty crazy — stressful,” Van Garderen told VeloNews at the
line. “I was on the front with Bak and Pate with about 15km to go to pull the last break back. I’ve never done it at the Tour before, but we have tons of sprinters on this team, so you have to do it at the other races. … I feel pretty good. It would have been nice to have gotten the win yesterday or today, but it will come.”
Van Garderen is poised for a run at the best young rider’s white jersey, but said the team’s marching orders are focused on other goals.
“I don’t think so. We’re here to set up Tony and Peter on GC and Cav and Goss in the sprints,” Van Garderen said. “I don’t have a lot of personal ambitions. I am here to learn and to help out the team.”
Sunderland hot on Shack’s chances
Scott Sunderland — a former pro and director at CSC and Sky — believes that RadioShack is ideally positioned to make a run for overall victory.
With Alberto Contador back on his heels after ceding time in the opening two stages, RadioShack has three options for overall victory with Chris Horner, Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer.
“RadioShack can protect those guys going up to the Luz-Ardiden stage and then they can start attacking with them,” Sunderland told VeloNews. “They can see who has the best legs on the day and put them up the road. The others can just sit in with the favorites, and if they’re caught, another one can go, then the third. They’re all strong in the time trial, so if you can all three of them up there, they have big chances.”
Sunderland, who is working as a TV commentator for Australian television, said time losses by Contador open up opportunities for everyone, but cautioned that if Contador hits his form in the final days of the Tour, the Spaniard should be able to erase the early losses.
“It’s going to be interesting. If we see the Andy Schleck of last year, Alberto could have a tough time, because Andy can just follow Contador and go into the final time trial in good shape, but we still haven’t seen anything from Andy to make a judgement of his form,” Sunderland said. “But if we see the Contador as strong as he was in the Giro, if Contador can recover and hit his form in those final three days in the Alps, I don’t think anyone will be able to stay with him. It’s going to make for an interesting three weeks.”
Fourth of July American
Tyler Farrar’s first-ever Tour de France victory also made history as the first American to win on the Fourth of July. French riders regularly attack to win on the 14th of July — the French version of July 4th — but Farrar’s win is a Tour-first.
“I would have taken it on any day,” Farrar said of the victory. “Winning on the Fourth of July is just icing on the cake. Everything just came together perfect for me – Lucky me.”
In 1988, Canadian Steve Bauer won stage 1 from Pontchateau (where the race passed through today) to Machecoul (next town to where today’s feed zone was) on July 4 and took the yellow jersey. It’s the right continent at least.
Jury decision: Hushovd, Cavendish relegated in intermediate sprint
Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) were relegated during the day’s intermediate sprint after the pair made contact in the charge for the line. UCI officials cited “sprint irrégulier” in their decision. Both were fined 200 CHF and lost their points at the intermediate sprint. Hushovd has already said that the green jersey is not a top priority, but the decision could have implications for Cavendish, who lost the 10 points he earned by “winning” the sprint with sixth behind the five-man breakaway.
HTC officials said they were not happy with the decision, but said they would not appeal. Hushovd told Norwegian journalists after a five-minute meeting with the jury that “no one did anything wrong. I am not angry at Cavendish, in fact, I tried to tell the jury that it was my fault so that Cavendish could go clear, but they said no.”
– no injuries
Yellow: Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) defended the yellow jersey by crossing the line sixth after leading out teammate Tyler Farrar to victory. There were no major shakeups in the overall standings, with David Millar remaining second with the same time and Cadel Evans (BMC) third at one second back.
Green: José Rojas (Movistar) took the jersey away from Philippe Gilbert, who slipped to third on points. Rojas now leads with 65, Farrar slots into second with 58 and Gilbert third with 52.
King of the Mountains: Gilbert keeps the KoM jersey with 1 point. Mickael Delagne (FDJ) won the day’s lone point over the Saint-Nazaire bridge that was rated as a fourth-category climb.
White: Geraint Thomas (Sky) kept his best young rider’s jersey with fourth overall at four seconds back.
Peloton: All 198 starters remain in the race.