Tour de France 2013: Gerrans wins Stage 3

Australia's Simon Gerrans of the Orica-GreenEdge team won the third stage of the Tour de France on Monday in a sprint finish at the end of the 145-kilometre ride from Ajaccio to Calvi on Corsica. The race now moves on to mainland France.

Tour de France 2013: Gerrans wins Stage 3
Australia's Simon Gerrans (L) sprints to win at the end of the 145.5 km third stage of the Tour de France between Ajaccio and Calvi. Photo Jeff Pachoud/AFP

Gerrans edged out Slovakia's Peter Sagan, last year's green jersey winner, in a photo finish with Spain's Jose Joaquin Rojas in third.

Belgium's Jan Bakelants, winner of the second stage, holds on to the overall race leader's yellow jersey by a one-second margin while Sagan's second place allows him to take the green jersey for the best sprinter from Marcel Kittel.

The German Kittel had won the opening stage of the race in Bastia on Saturday.

“The team did a fantastic job in looking after me today,” Gerrans told Eurosport after the win. “This is a stage I pin-pointed a little while ago and luckily I had the legs to win a first Tour stage for Orica-GreenEdge.

“I managed to hold off one of the quickest guys around so I’m wrapped,” he said. “It was so close and neither of us knew who won when we finished.”

Gerrans' sprint success came at the end of a stage that was short but tricky, with the route up Corsica's west coast featuring practically no flat sections and a total of four climbs, most notably the testing category two ascent of the Col de Marsolino just 13.5 kilometres from the finish in Calvi.

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That climb saw the peloton catch a breakaway of five riders, led by Dutchman Lieuwe Westra and Simon Clarke, a teammate and compatriot of Gerrans.

It was a good day all round for the team, with Simon Clarke featuring in a group of five riders who broke away from the peloton early and going on to reach the summit in each of the first three categorised climbs of the day.

It was a short but tricky stage, with the route up Corsica's west coast featuring practically no flat sections and a total of four climbs, most notably the testing category two ascent of the Col de Marsolino just 13.5 kilometres from the finish in Calvi.

That climb saw the peloton catch the five-man breakaway, which had been led by Dutchman Lieuwe Westra.

Apart from the break, it was a largely uneventful ride for the most part, albeit amid some absolutely spectacular scenery.

The Corsican section of the 100th Tour is now over, and the riders were due to depart for the French mainland later on Monday ahead of a short team time-trial in Nice on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day Britain's Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas started the third stage despite suffering from a fractured pelvis.

The 27-year-old Welshman underwent tests in Bastia on Saturday after falling in a mass crash towards the end of the first stage, and the official Tour medical report after the second stage confirmed that he was receiving treatment for a sore left hip.

French television reports on Monday indicated that new tests revealed the fracture, and Thomas was visibly struggling during the short but tricky 145-kilometre ride up Corsica's west coast from Ajaccio to Calvi.

The two-time Olympic team pursuit gold medallist was seen receiving treatment from the Sky medical team at the back of the peloton and his condition will be of great concern ahead of Tuesday's team time-trial in Nice.

Elsewhere on Monday, the Tour's 198-man field was reduced by two, with Kazakh rider Andrey Kashechkin of the Astana team the first to abandon the 2013 race, at the start of the third stage.

Soon after, Frenchman Yoann Bagot of Cofidis became the second rider to withdraw.

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Froome crowned Tour de France winner in Paris

Chris Froome was crowned winner of the 2013 Tour de France on Sunday as the 100th edition of the race drew to a close on the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Froome crowned Tour de France winner in Paris
Chris Froome clad in the yellow jersey that he has made his own. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

Britain's Chris Froome was crowned champion of the 100th edition of the Tour de France as Germany's Marcel Kittel powered his way to his fourth win on the 21st and final stage on Sunday.

Team Sky's Froome, the winner of three stages in this edition, claimed his aiden yellow jersey with a winning margin of 4min 20sec on second-placed Colombian Nairo Quintana of Movistar.

"I think it's going to take a while to sink in," said a triumphant Froome, who succeeded teammate and compatriot Bradley Wiggins, absent this year, as
the yellow jersey champion.

"It's really has been a special edition of the Tour de France this year. Every day I woke up knowing I faced a fresh challenge… and I have to thank all my teammates for helping me achieve this dream."

Race debutant Quintana, who moved up to second place thanks to his maiden stage win at the summit finish of Annecy-Semnoz on Saturday, secured the race's white jersey for the best young rider and the best climber's polka dot jersey.

He was joined on the podium by Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), third at 5:04 and one place ahead of former two-time winner Alberto Contador of Spain, who slipped to fourth on Saturday's penultimate stage.

Slovakian Peter Sagan of Cannondale won the points competition's green jersey for the second successive year with a tally of 409 points and a 97-point lead on former winner Mark Cavendish of Britain.

Argos sprinter Kittel ended Cavendish's hopes of a fifth consecutive win on the Champs Elysees when he outsprinted the Omega-Pharma sprinter and German Andre Greipel of Lotto in a thrilling dash for the line.

Greipel, the winner of one stage, finished second with Cavendish, a close third.

It left Kittel, with four stage wins, as the top sprinter of this year's race and allowed the German to close the race as he opened it having won the opening stage from Porto Vecchio to Bastia.

"Four! I can't believe it," said Kittel. "It was a dream of mine to win on the Champs Elysees and now I've done it. I'm so proud."

Froome began the final stage with a lead of 5:03 on Quintana — the largest margin since disgraced American Lance Armstrong claimed his sixth win in 2004 with a lead of six minutes on German Andreas Kloden.

However, the Briton, who was unchallenged on a final stage which is traditionally contested by the sprinters, lost time to the Colombian in the final, frantic laps of a packed-out circuit in the French capital.

Froome thus becomes the second successive Briton to win the race after teammate and compatriot Bradley Wiggins, who made history as Britain's first winner in 2012, when Froome finished runner-up.

The 28-year-old Froome, born in Nairobi, won three stages on this year's race — two on mountaintop finishes and one time trial — to take his tally to

His performances on this year's race, the first since the downfall of Armstrong, raised eyebrows among sceptics.

Team Sky chief Dave Brailsford, however, maintained that Froome and his team are clean and that in the Kenyan-born Briton, the sport is in "safe hands".

"Chris really deserved this win, he worked so hard for it," said Brailsford, who helped orchestrate British track cycling's rise to world and Olympic domination in the past decade before turning his sights on road racing.    

"If you look at the future of cycling, I think in a rider like Chris the sports is in safe hands. There are no doubts about our team, no doubts whatsoever."