Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dan McLay avoids chaos, continues British assault on Normandie

Yeti and Clifford sending off AnPost-Chain Reaction (Photo: AnPost_CRC)
Typical Norman weather continued for the 3rd stage of the Tour de Normandie on Thursday with a lot of rain, wind and clouds to go around for everyone. The stage was lumpy in the first half after leaving Elbeuf but once the race hit the circuits in Argentan, the race was flapjack flat. The breakaway was established as soon as the gun was sounded and KOM leader Stef Van Zummeren (3M), Edouard Louyest and Julien Guay (Sojasun Espoirs) took off. Van Zummeren was on a mission to consolidate him KOM lead and took out all three climbs on offer to put 16 points between himself and Laurent Van den Bak (AnPost-Chain Reaction).

The breakaway was not going to be getting very far with the conditions and after Louyest tried a flyer, he was brought back when the race entered Argentan, which signalled 30 kilometers to go and the real start to the race. BMC Development's Stefan Küng launched at one of the intermediate sprints and took the 3 second bonus, which put him just 3 seconds behind Rapha-Condor's Tom Moses on the overall. Leopard-Trek's Alex Kirsch thought he had the sprint win when he raised his hands for a victory salute but he embarrassingly did it one lap too soon and there were still 10 kilometers to go.

Coming into the final kilometer, a crash created some separation in the peloton and shuffled some guys back including yesterday's stage winner Dylan Groenewegen. Brit Dan McLay (Lotto-Belisol U23), who was 3rd yesteday and 5th on Tuesday, was able to navigate through the fray, even with a huge black eyes he got from a crash on stage 1, and outsprinted Marco Benfatto (Astana Continental) and Daniel Hoelgaard (Etixx) for the victory.

McLay gets it by a bike length (Photo: Tour de Normandie)
Rapha-Condor's Tom Moses was able to keep his overall lead by 3 seconds over Stefan Küng along with the white youth jersey while BMC Development kept the teams classification and McLay consolidated the points jersey.

Saturday's stage to Villers-Bocage will be one of the most decisive stages of the race with a very up and down course that will surely break up the peloton and will be one of the best chances for an attacker to shuffle the GC.

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