Julian Alaphilippe (Deceunick-Quick-Step) was my pre-race favorite for stage 3 of the Tour de France, the stage was practically built for him. How he did it though, was a bit of a surprise. Instead of holding out for the uphill sprint, he put in an attack with a little over 15 kilometers to go and soloed all the way to the finish.
With no one else in sight Alaphilippe crossed the line to grab the stage 3 win and took the overall lead and yellow jersey at the same time. That makes him the first Frenchman in five years to put on the yellow jersey.
“I’m speechless,” Alaphilippe said. “I knew this stage suited me. I managed to avoid any pitfalls and crashes. I felt good so I accelerated on the Côte de Mutigny climb, but I didn’t think I’d go alone.”
The 215-kilometer stage from Binche, Belgium to Champagne, France at Épernay started with a five-man breakaway containing Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal). At 50 kilometers to go, Wellens soloed away from the breakaway group. The peloton ate up the remaining four soon thereafter, and then gradually closed the gap to Wellens until he was within sight at the bottom of the final categorized ascent.
Alaphilippe attacked with Wellens still a few seconds ahead of the peloton. He zipped past Wellens on the Côte de Mutigny and soloed from there to the win.
Michael Matthews (Sunweb) won the sprint for second bringing him closer to fifth-place finisher Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the green jersey battle. A split in the peloton further back gave Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) five seconds on the rest of the GC hopefuls.
Dan Martin Expects Fireworks in Friday’s Stage 6
UAE Team Emirates rider Dan Martin is expecting “fireworks” in the sixth stage on Friday:
“It’s very early to be making big efforts like that as a GC rider. With so many teammates around, if you do make a move on a finish like today, then other teams will chase you down, we saw that with the move by Landa and Woods,” Martin told Cycling News.
“This a very hard and mountainous Tour,” he said. “You also feel that anything can happen in any moment, so I think people are more and more conscious that using up unnecessary energy so early could be very costly in the final week, especially with those last three days in the Alps. Say that, but you hope everybody doesn’t wait for the Alps because it could be too late.
“It’s a very very difficult stage [six], and so I think there’s going to be a very big shake up.
“There are more climbs before we get there this time, and so it’s probably one of hardest stage of the whole Tour. Coming so early, everyone will have fresh legs. There’s going to be fireworks on La Planche des Belles Filles.”
Kasper Asgreen uncertain to continue after hard crash in Epernay
— Brecht Decaluwé (@caluweski) July 8, 2019
After a massive effort to reel in the day’s breakaway on stage 3 of the Tour de France that helped propel Deceuninck-Quickstep teammate Julian Alaphilippe to the victory and race lead, Kasper Asgreen missed a traffic sign in the middle of the road and suffered a nasty crash that snapped his bike in two.
Asgreen insisted on finishing the stage, but out of caution was taken by ambulance to a hospital for further examinations after finishing. The Deceuninck-Quickstep team issued an update this evening, saying “Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s medical staff will continue to monitor Asgreen overnight and a final decision on his further participation in the race will be taken tomorrow morning.”
2019 Tour de France Results
Stage 3 results
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:40:29
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb 0:00:26
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
7 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
9 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 9:32:19
2 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:20
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:25
4 George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb 0:00:40
6 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos 0:00:45
8 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:46
9 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC 0:00:51
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb