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Roche bags 7th as crashes scupper Martin’s GC

Posted 03 July 2012

Nicolas Roche turned in a superb performance to secure seventh place on stage three of the Tour de France after a succession of crashes, mechanicals and punctures wreaked havoc on the peloton.
 
The stage though was a disaster for Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) who lost 5’05” after finding himself on the wrong side of the many dramatic incidents that littered the final 30 kilometres of the stage.
 
One man with plenty to celebrate however was Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) who bagged his second stage win ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) and Peter Velits (Omega Pharma Quickstep) after 197 kilometres of racing from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer.
 
Sky’s Kanstanstin Sivtsov became the first rider to retire from the race having come off the worst for wear in a heavy fall that split the peloton with just over 50 kilometres to the finish.
 
Martin and birthday-boy Roche survived the incident with the Garmin-Sharp team forced to put all hands on deck to bring its GC men back to the peloton as it pursued a five-man break onto the first of five climbs that made up the final 35 kilometres.
 
The break featuring Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank), Giovannie Bernaudeau (Europcar), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Sebastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale) held together over the summit but split on the next climb of the Cote de Herquelingus after 175 kilometres out front.
 
While king of the mountains leader Morkov and Grivko took off over the summit of that climb the peloton was meanwhile picking up the pieces from another crash which left Martin chasing in the fourth of several groups on the road.
 
With three climbs still to come he faced an impossible task to regain contact with the lead chase group of some fifty riders containing Roche and all of the other GC contenders, including his Garmin-Sharp teammate Ryder Hesjedal.
 
The drama continued up front as the peloton closed down the two leaders with punctures and mechanicals ruling out a number of big names for stage honours ahead of a flying attack from Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma Quickstep) inside the final five kilometres.
 
The Frenchman almost overcooked it through a tight left hand corner with two kilometres to the line as he fought to overcome his twelve seconds deficit to racer leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan).
 
Roche did a remarkable job of getting around that same corner towards the head of the chasing peloton while GC contender Alejandro Valverde (Moviestar) was one of the biggest names to overshoot it.
 
Some quick maneouvering also helped Roche to avoid a spill as the peloton swept up Chavanel inside the final kilometre and while that crash upset his stride he recovered quickly to claim seventh place after Sagan celebrated by literally dancing his way across the line.
 
The result helped Roche to move up to 20th place in the GC and to lose no more than the 25 seconds he has already conceded to race leader Cancellara. Martin though has plummeted to 87th in the GC and has been forced to focus solely on stage wins after shedding 5’28”.
 
Results:
 
Tour de France
 
Stage 3: Orchies – Boulogne-sur-Mer, 197 kilometres
 
1.  Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:42:58
2.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:01
3.  Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4.  Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan
5.  Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
6.  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
7.  Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
8.  Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
9.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
 
7. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 1 second
105. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 5 minutes, 05 seconds
 
1.  Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 14:45:30
2.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
3.  Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4.  Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
5.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:11
6.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13
7.  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
8.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18
9.  Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp
10.  Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:19
 
20. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 25 seconds
87. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 5 minutes, 28 seconds

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