Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special
Mark Cavendish, Tour de France 2010, cobbles training, June 30
The 2010 Tour de France teams descended on the cobbles of Belgium and northern France on Wednesday to prepare for next week's key stage three of the race.
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Lance Armstrong (RadioShack), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and many more were snapped by CW photographer Graham Watson practising their skills on the rough roads that play host to Paris-Roubaix.
Seven sectors of cobbles await the riders on Tuesday, July 6. Classics specialists will be in their element, and skinny climbers will be like fish out of water. Overall contenders could gain or lose time on their rivals early in the race during the stage and the green jersey will be up for grabs.
Michael Rogers of HTC-Columbia commented via Twitter: "Stage 3 of TdF will be a tough one with the cobbles. Reminded me why I don't ride Paris-Roubaix..."
It's no wonder the big squads were out in force to test their legs.
The Tour de France starts in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Saturday, July 3 and finishes in Paris on Sunday, July 25.
Tour de France, stage three: Wanze to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 213km
Give me 10: Brit Charly Wegelius
Thor Hushovd leads Cervelo
Mark Cavendish and HTC-Columbia
Lance Armstrong and RadioShack
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index