Albasini moves into third overall after Tour de France stage threeMon 7 Jul 2014
Michael Albasini has moved into third overall, finishing amongst the lead group on stage three of the 2014 Tour de France this afternoon.
In contrast to yesterday’s brutal stage, today’s 155km journey was flat and designed for the bunch sprint that eventuated.
Staying quiet for the majority of the stage, the team moved Albasini towards the front in the final 20km to avoid trouble and stay in touch with the stage favourites.
The three-time 2014 Tour of Romandie stage winner crossed the line in 15th position behind Giant-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel who won his second stage of the Tour.
“I had the whole day with Christian (Meier) by my side,” Albasini said.
“In the final all of the other guys like Durbo (Luke Durbridge), (Matt) Hayman, Svein (Tuft) and (Jens) Keukeleire were there to bring me into position so I could hold my position in the sprint and move up one position on GC (general classification).
“It was actually the maximum I could do today because to move up over (Peter) Sagan is impossible on a sprint day. He almost crashed and he still ran second.”
As the Tour moves across to France tomorrow, another flat stage predicts a similar group finish. For Albasini and the team, the goal, at least for another day, will be similar.
“As long as I can stay there, I think it is nice for myself and also for the team having someone up there in the GC,” Albasini said.
“Also thinking about having a car in a good position behind the bunch, that is also important.
“As long as it doesn’t take too much attention from the team I will do that, but at the end our goal is to win a stage and if we are going to do that we are going to have to go in breakaways.”
After unheard of crowds and a nervous three stages in the United Kingdom, sport director Matt White doesn’t expect to see things calm down over the next couple of days.
“We are going to give Alba (Albasini) every chance but you never know what is going to happen in the next couple of days,” White said.
“We have rain predicted on Wednesday and there is typically a fair bit of wind in tomorrow’s stage so we have got to be prepared.
“Yesterday’s crowds have never been seen before at the Tour de France or probably any other sporting event roadside.
“Today was a little bit calmer but there is a lot of nervous guys still around. This first week isn’t going to win someone the Tour de France but it can certainly loose someone the Tour de France.”