Tour de France: Simon Gerrans reveals he had been targeting victory on stage three
Last Updated: 01/07/13 5:12pm
Simon Gerrans had been targeting stage three
Simon Gerrans revealed he had been targeting winning stage three of the Tour de France and was elated to hold off "one of the quickest guys around" for victory.
The Australian Orica-GreenEDGE rider beat Cannondale's Peter Sagan by just centimetres in a reduced-bunch sprint at the end of a testing day in Corsica.
The 145.5km route, which contained four categorised climbs, had been highlighted as a potential stage for puncheurs and Gerrans prevailed after pure sprinters such as Mark Cavendish had been dropped earlier in the day.
It was his second Tour de France stage win, following his triumph on stage 15 in the 2008 race.
"It feels fantastic," Gerrans said. "The guys did a fantastic job of looking after me today.
"It is a stage that I pinpointed a little while ago and I am really happy I had fantastic legs and finished off some great teamwork today.
"I was able to hold off one of the quickest guys around, so I am wrapped. All I could see was he was on my shoulder, coming up beside me.
"I just kept going for as long as I could and then threw for the line. It must have been close because neither of us knew who had won."
While Gerrans celebrated stage victory, race leader Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard) toasted surviving the day unscathed to retain his one-second overall advantage and the yellow jersey.
RadioShack-Leopard spent much of the stage on the front of the peloton, controlling the pace and navigating the pack through a series of tight and technical descents.
"It was not an easy day because the parcours was hard and there was danger behind every corner," Bakelants said. "You had to pay maximum attention.
"My team kept me out of trouble. It was amazing the work they did for me. We never really panicked and had the race under good control."
Bakelants will wear the maillot jaune for a second day in tomorrow's team time trial in Nice, but does not expect to keep hold of it.
"Tomorrow will be hard," he admitted. "Even though we have a good team, there are more specialist teams and it is only one second. It is nothing.
"Who knows? We do the maximum tomorrow and tomorrow night we see, but if I am in yellow it would surprise me."