Blazin' Saddles

Tour de Farce: Mad horseplay, hats and Cavendish t-shirts

Blazin' Saddles

Horseplay in Essex

The third part of the opening English triptych on this year's Tour de France may have lacked the drama of Yorkshire but a hectic finish in London still gave fans something to dig their teeth into - although not in a way that would have sated a Suarez-style appetite.

As the race bids adieu to its temporary home for the past three days and heads back to France, we take a look at some of the stand-out stories that illuminated stage 3 to London.

Every year spectators are treated to helicopter images of French riders galloping alongside the peloton atop their athletic equine steeds - so it came as little surprise that someone in England would try and get in on the act.

By the same token, it also came as little surprise that the English horse was just a little on the tubby side compared to its French counterparts...

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This Cavendish fan forgot to read the papers

Before stage 3 had even got under way in Cambridge fans flocked to central London to line the streets in anticipation of the peloton. This chap had clearly not watched much of the action over the weekend - either that, or he was showing steely solidity to the man who is set to miss the next six weeks following surgery on the shoulder he injured in that crash in Harrogate on the race's opening day.

Vachon becomes Vach-off after bad Bakelanding

Belgium's Jan Bakelants was caught snoozing towards the back of the peloton early in the day when a touch of wheels saw the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider take an impromptu tumble. One Giant Shimano rider rode right over his rear wheel but Frenchman Florian Vachon couldn't avoid coming down on top of Bakelants. Judging by Vachon's expression and enraged shake of the head, he wasn't best pleased about the sudden turn of events...

Hats off to David Millar

Having received plenty of ridicule for his bizarre choice of headwear during Sunday's stage two, David Millar stuck to his sartorial guns by unleashing the offending brown trilby on the London public. Although we'll say 'chapeau' to Dave for deciding to simply hold the thing on Monday - and not actually wear it.

What do you call a gaggle of cycling commentators?

How about... a pelecom? [Boom tish!] Before the stage got under way Eurosport's Carlton Kirby put an avuncular hand on the shoulder of a hatless David Millar, still no doubt smarting at his snub from the Garmin-Sharp team.

Millar was shooting the breeze with former rider and commentary royalty Paul Sherwen, whose long-time partner-in-crime Phil Liggett can be seen chatting in the background to a man whose headwear surely had Dave's pulse racing.

On board camera captures corner crash

While Monday's escapees rolled ahead of the peloton, Eurosport took the chance to show some bike camera footage taken during the previous stage. The images were thought to be captured from the bike of Movistar's Ion Izagirre and show the Spaniard coming a cropper on a tight bend during the descent of Holme Moss on Sunday. To be fair to Izagirre - that Astana rider seemed to come from nowhere!

Ma'am is not amused

The French on-screen graphic as the peloton whizzed past the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London would have made even Her Majesty's corgis bark in despair...

Mourinho makes an appearance

Even though Rui Costa is a world champion of his sport who has twice beaten footballer Ronaldo to Portugal's sports personality of the year crown, it is not 100% certain from the look of this picture whether Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho actually knew whom he was talking to when the pair met at the finish line in London.

Brailsford butters up the French ahead of Channel crossing

With the race now heading over to France, Sir Dave Brailsford was clearly on PR mode as he spoke to L'Equipe of his desire to win the Tour de France with a French rider at Team Sky.

Quite what Sky's Kenyan-born British leader Chris Froome - the man who has targeted numerous wins of the world's biggest bike race - makes of this is anyone's guess. But if it means some of the French fans cheer - rather than spit on - Sky riders over the next three weeks, then Froome probably won't loose too much sleep over it.

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