Sylvain Chavanel Promises to Attack Again During the 2012 Tour De France

Michael HatamotoContributor IIIJuly 4, 2012

Sylvain Chavanel rides alongside Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins (AFP)
Sylvain Chavanel rides alongside Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins (AFP)

Team Omega Pharma-Quick-Step rider Sylvain Chavanel put in a valiant effort to earn a stage win during Stage 3, but was caught prior to the finish.

It's this aggressive riding style that has made Chavanel a popular rider among fans in France, even if he's unable to cross the finish line first.

The 33-year-old experienced rider jumped from the peloton with about 5.5 kilometers remaining in the stage, and likely made his move a bit too early.  However, he seemed to see a lull in the action, so he went all-in to try and get a stage win and the yellow jersey.

Race radio reported he had around a 12-second lead with 2.5 kilometers left, but ended up being swept up with less than 1,000 meters left in the stage.

Chavanel stands a bit too high on the overall general classification (GC), so Team BMC and race leader Fabian Cancellara’s Team RadioShack-Nissan riders helped pull back the French time-trial champion.

Chavanel spoke about his race strategy (via L’Equipe via CyclingNews):

“I hadn’t planned anything special for the finale.  But when I saw Cancellara drop back a bit during the climb, I decided to play my card.  He’s a smart one though, he already knew what he was preparing for… But nobody let me go when I jumped, so that must mean they are a little bit afraid of me.  It’s a good sign to finish 12th on the stage despite my attack.  It confirms my good sensations.  The Tour has only started – now I will get on the attack.”

Have to applaud Chavanel for his attack against the peloton, as he was able to get a gap before they organized.  If Chavanel can maintain this good form, he’s an experienced rider and a great opportunist, so he’s not done quite yet.

It's great to see riders decide to try and create their own opportunity for glory, and Chavanel is a cheeky veteran.  He won't be done just yet, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

With sprinter Tom Boonen electing to skip the Tour, and time-trial specialist Tony Martin suffering a broken wrist, Chavanel's Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team will have to carefully pick times to attack. 

American rider Levi Leipheimer is the protected general classification (GC) rider, but chasing stage wins is likely a bigger priority.