Younger brother Andy follows safely on Fabian Cancellara's wheel
Luxembourg champion Frank Schleck lost his chances for an overall victory in the Tour de France today, when he became the first victim of the infamous pavé du Nord with just over 25 kilometers remaining in the third stage. The elder Schleck went down hard and remained on the ground in what looked to have been a race-ending incident.
Race organizers, the Amaury Sports Organization, added cobbled sectors from Paris-Roubiax to add drama of the race, but will likely be criticized by the peloton following two days of major crashes. Yesterday saw Garmin-Transitions leader Christian Vande Velde exit the with broken ribs, and the team's star sprinter Tyler Farrar continue on with a sprained left elbow and a fracture in his left wrist. He is not expected to finish the race.
Schleck showed his form at the recent Tour de Suisse, where he took the victory ahead of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong (RadioShack). Rather than try to neutralize the race as he did following the crash yesterday, Schleck's teammate Fabian Cancellara went to the front to keep Andy Schleck safe on the run into the finish in Arenburg.