Caleb Ewan starts to crash on stage 3 of the Tour de France.

Where the Tour contenders stand after a chaotic stage 3

Taking stock of how the big names fared on the crash-marred third stage of the 2021 Tour de France.

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A Tour de France that had already featured more than its fair share of dramatic pileups saw the peloton endure another rough day on Monday as several big names went down across multiple crashes on stage 3.

When all was said and done on the day, some high-profile riders had left the Tour de France altogether, while others had lost time after either being caught behind incidents or hitting the deck themselves.

After such a chaotic series of events, it seemed like a helpful idea to take stock of how the big names fared on their journey from Lorient to Pontivy.

It was a successful stage for some

Alpecin-Fenix navigated the chaotic stage safely to power to a highly successful finale. Tim Merlier took his first Tour de France stage win, giving Alpecin-Fenix a victory for the second straight day, and the team has to be happy to see Jasper Philipsen in second. Behind the lead sprinters, race leader Mathieu van der Poel (also of Alpecin-Fenix) finished safely to retain his GC lead.

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was also among those finishing on the same time as the front group, and he closed out the day in second overall, eight seconds down on van der Poel.

Of the top-tier GC contenders, Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) had the best day as the only Grand Tour winner on the roster to finish on the same time as Merlier. As such, Carapaz moved up to third overall. Even after losing a few seconds on stage 1, Carapaz now sits eight seconds ahead of 2020 winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates).

Others finished stage 3 a little ways behind the winner. Enric Mas (Movistar), Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) arrived 14 seconds back, while Pogačar finished in a large group of riders 26 seconds down. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo) also arrived on the same time as Pogačar.

Geraint Thomas dislocated his shoulder but still gained time on a few rivals

Three hours before the finish, you’d have to say it was looking like an awful day out for the Ineos Grenadiers, as Thomas crashed hard and dislocated his shoulder. The former Tour winner had it popped back into place, however, and then remounted and ultimately rejoined the peloton.

He then managed to safely navigate the chaotic final 10 km to finish in the same group as Pogacar, and thus remarkably gained time on some other big names despite his earlier crash.

The Ineos Grenadiers said after the stage that Thomas had not suffered any broken bones in the fall, although shoulder dislocation can’t have been comfortable. Regardless of his solid finish, it remains to be seen how the injury will impact Thomas’s moving forward.

It was a tough day for Primož Roglič

Primož Roglič arrived more than a minute down on Merlier after hitting the deck hard in a crash inside the last 10 km. The 31-year-old Slovenian fell heavily on his rear end and sustained numerous scrapes and bruises.

Roglič spent several moments on the ground after his crash but ultimately remounted and joined up with several Jumbo-Visma teammates to mount a chase, and the pursuers did an admirable job – with some not-so-inconspicuous assistance from the Jumbo-Visma team car – in limiting the damage.

Primoz Roglic finished stage 3 of the Tour de France with several scrapes and bruises.

Roglič finished 1:21 back on Merlier, losing the same amount of time to Carapaz, although Pogačar’s arrival a little ways behind the winner meant that Roglič would cede less than a minute to his Slovenian compatriot and to Thomas.

Later examinations would fortunately show no fractures for Roglic, though he crossed the line with his kit torn in a few places and no shortage of cuts. Roglic’s teammate Steven Kruijswijk also crashed on the day and required stitches to treat an injured finger, while Robert Gesink was the worst off of the Jumbo-Visma riders, ultimately abandoning the race.

Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) was another GC hopeful losing significant time, finishing with Roglič’s group after hitting the deck in a late crash.

The Tour is over for some

It was an especially rough day for Gesink, Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), all of whom sustained broken collarbones and pulled out of the race.

Gesink went down in the crash that also took down Geraint Thomas with a little under 150 km to go, and the Dutchman ultimately left the race, leaving Jumbo-Visma down a key support rider for the mountains. Haig, who entered the race as the designated GC leader for Bahrain Victorious, crashed heavily inside the last 10 km and looked to be in serious pain on the ground.

Ewan hit the deck within sight of the finish line as the sprinters rounded a final corner. He did not make it across the finish line either, leaving the race in an ambulance, with Lotto-Soudal later confirming that he had fractured his collarbone. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) went down in the same crash but did not appear to be injured.

The yellow jersey picture

To sum things up on the GC front, here’s where some of the big names finished on the day in relation to stage winner Tim Merlier.

  • Julian Alaphilippe, Mathieu van der Poel (race leader), Richard Carapaz 0:00:00
  • Enric Mas, Vincenzo Nibali, Jakob Fuglsang, Nairo Quintana, Wilco Kelderman 0:00:14
  • Tadej Pogačar, David Gaudu, Rigoberto Urán, Geraint Thomas, Esteban Chaves, Emanuel Buchmann, Richie Porte, Guillaume Martin 0:00:26
  • Alejandro Valverde, Primoz Roglic, Miguel Ángel López, Steven Kruijswijk 0:01:21

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