Tuesday, July 4

TdF: Stage 3

In a stage marred by crashes, including two ugly pile-ups that resulted in broken collarbones for American Fred Rodriguez, Erik Dekker, and yellow jersey hopeful Alejandro Valverde, the Tour de France saw a stunning sprint finish on the infamous Cauberg climb. Matthias Kessler--caught 50 meters from the line in the second stage--launched a last-minute attack on and won the third stage by just about the same margin. Then, his T-Mobile teammate, Michael Rogers, won the furious field sprint five seconds back.

At the end of the day, world champion, Tom Boonen, took over the yellow jersey at the end of the hilly 216.5 stage from Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg to Valkenburg in the Netherlands--just in time for a triumphant return to his homeland, Belgium, in the next stage.

Despite all the fireworks, Americans George Hincapie and Floyd Landis maintained their hold near the top of the overall standings:

1. Tom Boonen (Belgium)
2. Michael Rogers (Australia)
3. George Hincapie (USA),
4. Thor Hushovd (Norway)
5. Paolo Savoldelli (Italy)
6. Daniele Bennati (Italy)
7. Floyd Landis (USA)
8. Vladimir Karpets (Russia)
9. Serhiy Honchar (Ukraine)
10. Matthias Kessler (Germany)