Steels Wins Stage Three of Etoile de Besseges
Steels wins stage 3 of the Etoile de Besseges; Baldato still overall leader
Belgian champion Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet) has won Stage 3 of the Etoile de Besseges. Steels bested defending champion Robbie McEwen (Lotto) and Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) to win the 160.3-km ride from Place des Arenes de Nimes to Casino des Fumades in 3:57:40. Fabio Baldato (Alessio) remains the overall leader.
From the start, the pace was fast. Six men--Michael Buffaz (Jean Delatour), Jimmy Casper (La Francaise des Jeux.com), Tom Flammanang (Cofidis), Julien Laidoun (Ag2r), Nico Sijmens (Vlaanderen-T Interim), and Jens Voigt (Credit Agricole)--went off the front and ran up a four-minute lead before Landbouwkrediet and Alessio began to chase. The pursuit reeled in the sextet with 3.5 km left.
Kirsipuu started the sprint, but Steels got around the Estonian and towed McEwen. The Belgian, whom injury and illness have recently dogged, shouted with glee as he crossed the finish line. His teammates should have joined him. Steels's victory was Landbouwkrediet's second stage win of the race.
In the overall, Baldato leads Michael Skelde (EDS-Fakta) by 0:05 and Franck Bouyer (Brioches La Boulangere) by 0:06. Stage 4 will be a 154.4-km run from Ales to La Grand Combe. Who will win it? Will Baldato keep his lead? Check in on http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!