Tour de France Stage 3

Caleb Ewan brings some joy back to his team as he wins stage 3 ahead of Sam Bennett, Julian Alaphilippe leads overall from Adam Yates

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Tour de France Stage 3

After a crash on stage 1 and last place on stage 2, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) bounced back to win stage 3 in a highly contested bunch gallop in Sisteron, beating Irish champion Sam Bennett of Deceuninck-Quick Step and European champion Giacomo Nizzolo of NTT Pro Cycling. Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey.

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Caleb Ewan: “We are down to six riders, but everyone stayed motivated and gave 110% to replace the two missing riders so I could win. Because we knew I could win today. With one kilometre to go, I was too far behind and I took the risk of going even more backwards to find a good wheel. I think I rode close to the barriers but luckily I got through. My first victories last year were very special but this is the Tour de France. It’s the biggest race in the world and I’m still super happy to win. I hope for more wins to come, this year and beyond.”

Luka Mezgec: “It was actually a really easy stage, a bit of active recover for tomorrow. It was a messy final, the boys did well to bring me to the front, but then with two kilometres to go I said I will be in the bubble and do my own thing. Then everyone was across the whole road, just trying not to crash and I sprinted in the end for 11th.”

Jerome Cousin: “I suspected a battle for the polka dot jersey in the breakaway we had. When they sat up, I kept going as a mark of respect to the Tour de France, and we never know what can happen. Had I taken enough of an advantage and the rain would have started, for instance… Anyway, I can’t win a bunch sprint, I can’t win a mountain stage so I have to try elsewhere.”

Julian Alaphilippe: “We respected our plan to control the stage with the team all day, defend my jersey and sprint for Sam Bennett. There’s a little bit of a disappointment that he came second but myself being in yellow is pure happiness. It’s another hard stage with an uphill finish tomorrow but I’ll give it all to retain the jersey once again.”

Peter Sagan: “Again, like the first day. I started too early and found headwind on my front. I slowed down. Sprint is like that: sometimes I have to risk more. I’m happy with the green jersey. I have to say thanks to Daniel Oss. He stayed with me all day, protecting me from the wind. This is the third day, I have no injury, it’s good. I have the jersey by only one point. But I’ll try to keep it for more days.”

“It was a pretty messy sprint. In the final three-four kilometres of the stage, we had a terrible headwind and everybody was all over the place, riders were coming to the front then dropping back, it was messy. Thanks to Daniel’s leadout work we were able to position ourselves well but I think we launched the sprint too early and at about 150 metres from the finish I was overtaken from the right. Still, I’m happy for this green jersey, it’s nice to wear it and I’ll do my best to keep it all the way to Paris.”

Sam Bennett: “The guys provided a great lead-out, but the headwind was really strong and made it easy from somebody in the back to come off the wheels. I didn’t have the best legs, but I wouldn’t change anything. I think it’s a matter of luck and hope that I’ll have some reasons to smile soon”, said Bennett in Sisteron.

Cees Bol: “It was a messy sprint like we predicted before the start of the stage,” explained Bol at the finish. “For a long time we had the right focus and found space on the left coming into the finish like we said in the meeting this morning. Then we made two mistakes which we could not recover from. The order of the lead out changed which was the first mistake and when we hit the front we didn’t stay on the barrier like we should have. I got swamped and wasn’t able to do my sprint properly and could only finish in seventh place.”

The Race

A peloton of 173 riders took to the start of stage 3 near the Allianz Stadium in Nice. Jérôme Cousin (Total Direct Energie) was the first attacker right after the flag dropped. Anthony Perez (Cofidis) went across to him, marked by Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) who was riding in protection of Benoît Cosnefroy, the leader of the KOM competition. After only 7km of racing, Naesen sat up and waited for the peloton as his job was done with his team-mate in the right place to fight for the defence of the polka dot jersey. The leading trio of Cousin, Perez and Cosnefroy reached a maximum advantage of three minutes at km 11.

Perez outsprinted Cosnefroy at the first two cat. 3 climbs of the day: col de Pilon (km 55) and col de La Faye (km 63.5). With an advantage of two points, Perez was mathematically assured of taking the polka dot jersey. Therefore, they both sat up at km 71 and waited for the peloton, leaving Cousin alone in the lead.

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It gave a respite to Deceuninck-Quick Step, the only team pacing the peloton, mostly with Tim Declercq and Rémi Cavagna. At km 78, Cousin reached his maximum lead of 4 minutes. Cosnefroy sprinted from the peloton to get one KOM point atop the col des Lèques (km 117.5). He forged onwards on the downhill with his team-mate Nans Peters while Perez punctured and eventually crashed out. The Cofidis rider was forced to abandon with a broken collarbone.

Cousin was reined in with 16km to go and all the sprinters’ teams began their fight for positioning in the last ten kilometres. Peter Sagan launched the sprint from far out but Bennett passed him on the right side of the road and Ewan jumped out of the wheel of the Irish champion to score his fourth Tour de France stage victory after the three he got for himself in his first participation last year.

1. Caleb Ewan Lotto Soudal 05:17:42 120
2. Sam Bennett Deceuninck-Quick Step
3. Giacomo Nizzolo NTT Pro Cycling Team
4. Hugo Hofstetter Israel Start-Up Nation
5. Peter Sagan Point jersey Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Edward Theuns Trek-Segafredo
7. Cees Bol Team Sunweb
8. Matteo Trentin CCC Team
9. Bryan Coquard B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
10. Niccolo Bonifazio Total Direct Energie

14. Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott
15. Alexander Kristoff UAE Team Emirates
41. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott
65. Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic
99. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling
135. Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation
149. Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers

1. Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step 13:59:17
2. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott @ 04
3. Marc Hirschi Team Sunweb @ 07
4. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 17
5. Davide Formolo UAE Team Emirates
6. Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers
7. Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma
8. Sergio Higuita EF Pro Cycling
9. Guillaume Martin Cofidis
10. Esteban Chaves Mitchelton-Scott

Full Result Here  

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