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Steels doubles up, Millar survives crash

Stage 3: Loudun – Nantes



Nantes, France, July 3 2000- David Millar flirted with disaster in the final 1,500
meters of today’s 161.5km third stage to Nantes, but managed to cling on to his leader’s
yellow jersey for the third day running. The indomitable Tom Steels had a more trouble-free
day at the office speeding to his second stage win on the trot.

Millar was sitting pretty, tucked in behind the head of the peloton as the sprinters
jostled for position in the build up to the usual frenzied dash for the line. When
Swiss champion Marcus Zberg and French speedster Jean-Patrick Nazon took a tumble
directly in front of him, the fresh-faced leader of the pack feared the worst:

"Everybody crashed in the middle of the road," said a relieved Millar afterwards.
"I had to go to the side of the side, because there were guys sliding down the
road in front of me and I had nowhere to go."

Instinctively swerving to avoid the pile up of bodies and bikes (at around 60km/h
you don’t have time to think), he careered sideways off into one of the hay bales
lining the road and went head over heels into the crowd.

"I was either going to pile into the bodies or fall into the bales, so I opted
for the bales," said Millar, "but I went flying in a somersault. It scared
the shit out of me, But I’m not hurt."

The new kid on the block barely had time to brush himself down and jump back onto
his bike before the peloton hurtled past him, including his Cofidis team-mates who
were unaware of their yellow jersey’s dramatic nosedive.

"We’re wearing radio ear-pieces and I could hear the team manager screaming
that I’d crashed, but by then the others were too far ahead to do anything to help."

Determined not to undo his team’s (and also his own) hard work so far, Millar remounted
and chased hard, rejoining the back of the main field and limiting his losses to
a few seconds, doing just enough to keep his cherished yellow jersey.

"I didn’t want to lose the lead after all the hard work my team’s done over
an incident like that," he said.

So, catastrophe averted, Millar climbed the steps to the podium once more and will
hang the maillot jaune on the back of the chair on his hotel room (so he can see
it whenever he wakes up, he says) for another sleepless night.

Joining him for the fanfare and the flowers was Tom Steels who has well and truly
thrown down the gauntlet to his fellow sprint specialists with today’s win. In Nantes
this afternoon he was the fastest draw in western France. In this kind of blistering
form it’s hard to see who can outgun the Belgian on the flats.

Results:

1. Tom Steels (Bel/MAP), 161,5 km in 3 h 37:51.

(average speed: 44.48 km/h)

2. Marcel Wust (Ger/FES) at 00:00.

3. Erik Zabel (Ger/TEL) 00:00.

4. Jans Koerts (Hol/FAR) 00:00.

5. Stuart O’Grady (Aus/C.A) 00:00.

6. Damien Nazon (Fra/BJT) 00:00.

7. Francois Simon (Fra/BJT) 00:00.

8. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est/AG2) 00:00.

9. Romans Vainsteins (Lit/VIN) 00:00.

10. Dario Pieri (Ita/SAE) 00:00.

11. Stefano Zanini (Ita/MAP) 00:00.

12. Jacky Durand (Fra/LOT) 00:00.

13. Zoran Klemencic (Slo/VIN) 00:00.

14. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra/FDJ) 00:00.

15. Massimo Apollonio (Ita/VIN) 00:00.

16. Robbie McEwen (Aus/FAR) 00:00.

17. Frank Hoj (Dan/FDJ) 00:00.

18. Jan Ullrich (Ger/TEL) 00:00.

19. Christophe Mengin (Fra/FDJ) 00:00.

20. Olivier Perraudeau (Fra/BJT) 00:00.

21. Arvis Piziks (Lit/MCJ) 00:00.

22. Jaime Hernandez (Spa/FES) 00:00.

23. Andreas Klier (Ger/FAR) 00:00.

24. Pascal Chanteur (Fra/AG2) 00:00.

25. Laurent Jalabert (Fra/ONC) 00:00.

26. Lauri Aus (Est/AG2) 00:07.

27. Fred Rodriguez (USA/MAP) 00:09.

28. Abraham Olano (Spa/ONC) 00:09.

29. David Canada (Spa/ONC) 00:09.

30. Ivan Gutierrez (Spa/ONC) 00:09.

…………..

146. David Millar (GBR/COF) 00:09.



Stats corner- who’s got what



Stage 3 winner: Tom Steels



On the podium:

Yellow jersey: David Millar

Green jersey: Tom Steels

Points:

1. Tom Steels (Bel/MAP) 70 pts

2. Stuart O’Grady (Aus/C.A) 54

3. Marcel Wust (Ger/FES) 52

4. Erik Zabel (Ger/TEL) 52

5. Romans Vainsteins (Lit/VIN) 41

6. Jans Koerts (Hol/FAR) 40

7. Francois Simon (Fra/BJT) 38

8. Dario Pieri (Ita/SAE) 36

9. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est/AG2) 33

10. Zoran Klemencic (Slo/VIN) 31



King of the Mountains: Marcel Wust

Mountains:

1. Marcel Wust (Ger/FES) 5 pts

2. Frankie Andreu (USA/USP) 3

3. Francois Simon (Fra/BJT) 1

Team Category:

1. US Postal 26 h 10:29.

2. ONCE at 00:03.

3. Festina 01:04.

4. Telekom 01:18.

5. Cofidis 01:23.

6. Mapei 01:33.

7. Banesto 01:46.

8. Mercatone Uno 01:48.

9. AG2R Prevoyance 01:54.

10. Credit Agricole 01:54.

11. Rabobank 01:59.

12. Vini Caldirola 02:30.

13. Kelme 02:41.

14. Farm Frites 03:07.

15. Lotto 03:08.

16. Saeco 03:10.

17. Memory Card -JACK & JONES 03:52.

18. Bonjour 04:08.

19. La Francaise des Jeux 04:14.

20. Polti 04:24.



Best young rider(white jersey):

1. David Millar (GBR/COF) 8 h 43:09.

2. David Canada (Spa/ONC) at 00:18.

3. Ivan Gutierrez (Spa/ONC) 00:55.

4. Dario Pieri (Ita/SAE) 00:56.

5. Guido Trentin (Ita/VIN) 00:57.

6. Benoit Joachim (Lux/USP) 01:07.

7. Magnus Backstedt (Swe/C.A) 01:13.

8. Francisco Mancebo (Spa/BAN) 01:21.

9. Salvatore Commesso (Ita/SAE) 01:39.

10. Laurent Lefevre (Fra/COF) 01:41.



Most combative rider:

1. Jens Voigt (Ger/C.A) 24 pts

2. Michael Blaudzun (Den/MCJ) 21

3. Erik Dekker (Hol/RAB) 20

4. Jacky Durand (Fra/LOT) 19

5. Pascal Derame (Fra/BJT) 6

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