Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Serious crashes mar Stage 3 – won by Joaquin Rodriguez with Chris Froome grabbing Yellow

 Joaquin Rodriguez triumphs on Le Mur

Chris Froome snatches Yellow by one second from Tony Martin

Unfortunately two crashes marred yesterday's Stage 3 that finished on top of Le Mur de Huy. The second was poarticularly serious and led to the race being neutralised due to the number of medics and ambulances tending to injoured riders. It also led to the abandonment, after finishing, of the Yellow Jersey – Fabian Cancellara – with two fractured vertebrae a very sad way for Cancellara to finish what may have been his last Tour de France.  William Bonnet, who was the first to crash, Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, Australia's Simon Gerrans, South African Daryl Impey and Dmitry Kozontchuk (Russia) also abandoned. 

Joaquin 'Purito' Rodriguez won the steep climb to the top of Le Mur de Huy with Chris Froome just behind on the same time and gaining a six second time bonus. Alexis Vuillermoz was third with Dan Martin in 4th. Although Le Mur is only 1.3 kilometres long its steepest gradient – given as anything between 20% and 26%, there were some significant time gaps. Amongst the overall favourites Tejay Van Garderen, Bauke Mollema, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde lost 11 seconds to Froome (before adding the six second bonus), Contador (18), Rigoberto Uran (34), Romain Bardet (36) and Thibaut Pinot (1' 33"). 

Overall Froome now leads his rivals by: Van Garderen (13"), Uran (34"), Contador (36"), Mollema (1' 32), Nibali (1' 38"), Valverde (1' 51"), Rodriguez (2'), Bardet (2' 54") and Pinot (2' 58").     


Stage 4: Seraing to Cambrai
Today's stage at 223.5 kms is the longest of the 2015 edition and includes seven sections of cobbles totalling 13 kilometres. Although in contrast to last year's awful wet conditions, the forecast is for the dry weather to continue during the day with the possibility of rain in the evening after the stage has finished.

Even so today's stage will surely shake up overall standings again. Will Froome come through unscathed in marked contrast to last year when a wrist injury forced him to abandon before the race hit the cobbles. Nibali, who rode so well last year, will be looking to repeat his performance and grab back some time.

Cancellara would have been amongst the favourites to win today.  

Update: The possibility of rain at the end of the stage appears to have increased.

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