Tour de France 2013: Stages 3 & 4
Another disappointing stage for last year's Tourminator! For someone with a reputation for dominating flatter stages such as this one, Peter Sagan is barely recognizable this year, and not just because of his Michael Cera mustache.
Sagan finished Stage 3 with the sprinter’s Green Jersey while cameras panned over proper sprinters Mark Cavendish and André Greipel somewhere in the middle of the pack. Despite this accolade, Sagan was barely beat out for the stage win by lesser known rider Simon Gerrans. It’s not like Sagan to push himself like that without result.
I'm starting to wonder if the Orica Greenedge’s team bus incident of the first stage wasn’t a distraction technique designed by a team that’s now, five days later, cleaning up at this year's Tour.
Stage 4 marked the first stage to be held on mainland France; a short flat stage perfect for the Tour’s first team time trial.
Orica Greenedge took out not only team, RadioShack Leopard, who started the day off as the top team, but the team time trial world champions, Omega-Pharma Quickstep, who rode the day at an average speed of 57.8 km/hr, effectively moving Orica from third place to the top team overall, and moving Gerrans to the number one spot. Gerrans was flanked by fellow teammates Daryl Impey and Michael Albasini, marking the first time that an Australian team won the vaunted team time trial.
The scenery of these first few stages has been some the most beautiful I've seen yet at any Tour previous: deep blue beaches offset by bright blue skies, archaic ruins, and gorgeous coastline cities. Fans have already outdone themselves, showing up alongside the roads and sporting all manner of typical Tour regalia—men in tutus, spandex body suits, cowboy suits, to name a few.
The significance of the 100th anniversary of this unique sporting event has not been lost on them. It seems to be lost on some sports broadcasting stations, however.
I have been avidly following the Tour de France for a decade now, and so far this year has been the most difficult to follow thanks to poor, often changing television broadcasting schedules. The first few stages have seen all sorts of anniversary celebrations, and devoted fans have shown up in crowds typical of the final stages of the Tour. It’s disappointing to know that these fans, and fans watching at home, are being cheated by awkward rebroadcasting times that make it very difficult to keep up with the event.
Respect fans. Respect cycling. Respect the Tour.