Monday, July 07, 2008

Stage Three: Saint-Malo to Nantes

There were three stragglers over the line last today: Wim Vansevenant of Silence Lotto at 7:57 after the stage winner, Matthieu Sprick of Bouygues Telecom at 12:20, and Nicki Sorensen of CSC-Saxo at 13:24. Sorensen had a nasty crash at a road divider at 23 km to go, but he fared better than Angel Gomez of Saunier-Duval who was forced to be the second withdrawal from the Tour.

There are now 178 riders in the race.

Wim Vansevenant has taken his familiar position as Lanterne Rouge of the 2008 Tour de France for the third consecutive year, at 16:40 cumulative time behind the overall leader, just 8 seconds behind Matthieu Sprick. It's still very very early in the Tour - it's fairly unlikely that he will hold the position for every stage all the way to the final day (although he did hold the spot for 13 stages in 2007). The mountain stages often have exhausted stragglers come over the line just before the official cutoff time after which riders are eliminated from the race.

Note: Vansevenant wears number 9 on his back and a red-and-black jersey, so he should be easy to spot on TV in some of the rear shots of the peloton, but they seldom show the hindmost riders once they get near the finish line.

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