Route De France 2008
Gueugnon - Lac Les Settons 110km
Luise Keller (Team Columbia) took her first ever race leader jersey on Stage 3 in style. The German won the stage solo, beating fellow breakaway riders over what was described by the organisers as one of the hardest stages of the 2008 Tour.
Uenia Fernandes Da Souza (USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo), set the tone for the day when she broke away with barely 15km completed. She stayed away until after the first climb, around half stage. Edwige Pitel (Les Carroz) was one of those chasing her aggressively on the slopes of the long, pine tree wooded climb.
A group of four was formed when Pitel's acceleration towards Da Souza was marked by Karine Gautard (Futuroscope) and Rosane Kirch (Michela Fanini Record Rox) and then Keller bridged across. The most aggressive rider on the stage, Da Souza was dropped and returned to the bunch. This occurred in the town of Chateau Chinon. The four others would stay away until the finish, although they split into two pairs. Keller and Kirch gained a gap over the other two and then Keller broke away from Kirsch.
Keller finished alone, followed by Kirsch. Pitel outsprinted Gautard and then Kimberly Anderson (Team Columbia) took sixth place, a solo rider just ahead of the sprinting bunch. Oxana Kozunchuk (Menikini Selle Italia) took the bunch sprint ahead of Elodie Touffet (Gauss RDZ). The Russian's effort was rewarded - she now sits on equal time with the Young Rider competition leader - a real challenge to Daiva Tuslaite (Michela Fanini Record Rox) for Stage 4. Grace Verbeke (Lotto Belisol), who was leader at the beginning of the day finished in the bunch, which finished 5 minutes 45 seconds after Keller.
The mountains competition was taken over by Rosane Kirch (Michela Fanini) - consolation, perhaps for taking second place on the stage.
Luise Keller (Team Columbia) "It's exciting to win my first yellow jersey. The support and the trust from the team helped me get this today."
Director Ronny Lauke "The way the girls managed to earn back the yellow jersey was great," he said. "It's also really good to see Luise developing into such a well rounded rider."
Results - Top 10 - click here to see full result
General Classification Top 10 - click here to see full GC
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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