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Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took an impressive victory on stage 3 of the Tour de France, topping Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) in Sisteron.
Ewan found himself several riders back in the final few hundred meters of the day as the sprint opened up. Bennett pulled to the front to take what looked like a strong lead in the bunch kick, but Ewan managed to deftly navigate his way through sprinter traffic to make it to the front as the line approached. With 50 meters to go he exploded past on Bennett’s left and took a clear victory at the line. Bennett settled for second with Giacomo Nizzolo taking third on the day.
Julian Alaphilippe crossed the line with the pack to retain his overall race lead with the other big GC names finishing safely on the day as well.
Due to its mostly flat final 40 kilometers, the 198-kilometer stage from Nice seemed destined to come down to a sprint from the start, and the formation of a three-rider breakaway moments into the race did little to change that. The peloton did not give Benoit Cosnefroy, Anthony Perez, and Jérôme Cousin more than a few minutes’ advantage, but the trio had plenty of room to contest mountains points, with Perez taking the lead in the mountains classification in the early goings of the stage.
With around 120 kilometers still to go, Cousin left his breakaway companions behind and pressed on solo, and he remained out front for nearly two hours alone as the peloton very gradually closed down his gap. Perez, unfortunately, crashed out of the race inside the final 80 kilometers, missing out on what would have been a day in the polka dot jersey on stage 4.
With Deceuninck-Quick-Step and NTT doing much of the work, the pack swept up Cousin with around 16 kilometers to go to set up the sprinters’s finale. A crash with around eight kilometers to go brought down a handful of riders, including Wout van Aert, but most of the main contenders for the sprint remained upright.
Sunweb led the way into the finale but with 400 meters to go several riders pulled past spread wide across the road. Peter Sagan took an early lead in the sprint before Bennett pulled in front, but Ewan surged past everyone with a huge burst of speed in the final hundred meters to take the win.
Top 10, stage 3
1 EWAN Caleb (Lotto Soudal) 5:17:42
2 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
3 NIZZOLO Giacomo (NTT Pro Cycling)
4 HOFSTETTER Hugo (Israel Start-Up Nation)
5 SAGAN Peter (BORA – hansgrohe)
6 THEUNS Edward (Trek – Segafredo)
7 BOL Cees (Team Sunweb)
8 TRENTIN Matteo (CCC Team)
9 COQUARD Bryan (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM)
10 BONIFAZIO Niccolò (Team Total Direct Energie)
Top 10, GC
1 ALAPHILIPPE Julian (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 13:59:17
2 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 0:04
3 HIRSCHI Marc (Team Sunweb) 0:07
4 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:17
5 FORMOLO Davide (UAE-Team Emirates)
6 BERNAL Egan (INEOS Grenadiers)
7 DUMOULIN Tom (Team Jumbo-Visma)
8 HIGUITA Sergio (EF Pro Cycling)
9 MARTIN Guillaume (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
10 CHAVES Esteban (Mitchelton-Scott)
In other news
| Movistar signs van Vleuten
Reigning world road champ Annemiek van Vleuten is headed to Movistar next year. The Spanish WorldTour squad announced Monday that it had signed the 37-year-old Dutchwoman to a two-year deal.
Van Vleuten has been with Mitchelton-Scott since 2016 and has compiled a long list of impressive results in that time. She has won the past two editions of the Giro Rosa, nabbed two world time trial titles in addition to her current world road title, and taken two victories each at La Course and Strade Bianche, among many other big wins.
| Matthews will rejoin Mitchelton-Scott in 2021
Michael Matthews will leave Sunweb one year early at the end of this season and head back to Mitchelton-Scott. Matthews spent four years with the Orica-GreenEdge team that would then become Mitchelton before joining Sunweb at the start of 2017.
Despite his resume, Matthews was not selected for Sunweb’s Tour roster this year. He has nonetheless managed to put up strong results in his two appearances since the resumption of racing, riding onto the podium at Milan-San Remo and taking a WorldTour win last week at the Bretagne Classic.
| Benoot extends with Sunweb
Tiesj Benoot will ride on with Sunweb through 2022, the team announced on Monday.
The 2018 Strade Bianche champion joined Sunweb at the start of this season after five years with Lotto-Soudal, and he enjoyed a strong start to the season, winning a stage and finishing second overall at Paris-Nice. Benoot is currently racing the Tour de France.
| Colnaghi tops Pidcock to win his second straight U23 Giro stage
Italian up-and-comer Luca Colnaghi won his second straight stage at the under-23 Giro Ciclistico d’Italia on Monday.
The 21-year-old speedster bested Tom Pidcock and Tobias Bayer to win stage 3 after 119 kilometers of racing from Gradara to Riccione.
| Socially Speaking
We’ll close it out with some top-notch social media content from the CCC and Mitchelton-Scott teams.
In case you missed it
| Gallery: New bikes at the 2020 Tour de France
Photos from Dave Everett and Phil Golston and words from Dave Rome offer a closer look at some of the new bikes we’ve seen so far at this year’s Tour.
| Julian Alaphilippe’s ride from grief to glory
As Iain Treloar writes, Sunday was an emotional day for Julian Alaphilippe, who lost his father in June.
Today’s featured image of Julian Alaphilippe winning stage 2 of the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.