Cancellara Holds Lead at Tour de France


Tuesday, July 10th 2007, 7:21 am
By: News On 6


WAREGEM, Belgium (AP) _ Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara wore the leader's yellow jersey in Tuesday's third stage of the Tour de France, a trek taking the peleton from Belgium to France and favoring sprinters.

The Swiss rider was caught in a big pileup during Monday's second stage, but shook off a hand injury to start from the Belgian town of Waregem for the 147-mile route ending in Compiegne, northeast of Paris.

Organizers said 53 riders had submitted blood tests on Tuesday morning.

There were no abnormal blood parameters found and all were deemed apt to race. The teams tested were Tour contender Alexandre Vinokourov's Astana, the Discovery Channel, T-Mobile, Francaise des Jeux, Predictor-Lotto and AG2R.

On Monday, the Tour de France veered into Belgium and Gert Steegmans responded with a victory before his home fans in a country passionate about its cycling.

``What an explosion of emotion it was after the finish,'' he said. ``It was really important for the team. You could feel this enormous pressure because we're a Belgian team.''

Steegmans avoided a late crash that slowed many riders and left them with scrapes and bruises. He led a 1-2 Belgian finish with Tom Boonen in winning a Tour stage for the first time, causing fans to surround the team bus.

``I think it was a perfect picture, the two of us next to each other,'' Steegmans said.

He covered the 104.7-mile course on rain-drenched roads from Dunkirk, France, to Ghent in 3 hours, 48 minutes, 22 seconds.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said Monday the sport's governing body has added team managers and staff to the list of people he wants to sign the anti-doping charter.