What's Cool In Road Cycling
Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

TDF’17 St3: Sagan Sprints In Longwy!

Race Report: Long-range attacks, punchy hills and Peter Sagan. Today had all the hallmarks of an Ardennes Classic as the puncheurs and GC contenders dueled it out on the final climb. That duel never materialized as Peter Sagan, despite clipping out in the sprint confidently displayed his class and dominance. Geraint Thomas holds on to the yellow jersey.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

“Pressure…what is pressure?” asked Peter Sagan with a smile in his post-race interview. The World-champion looked relaxed as he celebrated victory on the uphill battle on stage 3.

With five categorized climbs and 212km on the menu for the riders today across three different countries today’s stage was always going to be entertaining. On paper today would have suited the capabilities of Alejandro Valverde had his Tour de France not been cut short by a horrific crash in the opening prologue. Though based on today’s performance Sagan seemed back to his unbeatable self.

There were attacks from the gun as the riders set out from Verviers, the hometown of Philippe Gilbert, with Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel starting proceedings.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - HANSEN Adam (AUS) Rider of Team Lotto - Soudal, BACKAERT Frederik (BEL) Rider of Wanty - Groupe Gobert, BROWN Nathan (USA) Rider of Cannondale - Drapac team, SICARD Romain of Direct Energie, HARDY Romain (FRA) Rider of Fortuneo - Vital Concept and POLITT Nils (GER) Rider of Team Katusha - Alpecin are the escape group pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos

The main breakaway formed just before the ascent of the Cat.4 Cote de Sart which came 18km into the stage. The group was composed of Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo), Nate Brown (Cannondale-Drapac) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie).

Not content to let this group get too much of an advantage, Bora-Hansgrohe and Sunweb collaborated together to keep the break at a steady two-minutes for much of the stage. Keen to defend the polka-dot jersey of his team mate Taylor Phinney, Nate Brown crested the first climb picking up the single point on offer and making sure that the jersey remained on the shoulders of a Cannondale-Drapac rider.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - BROWN Nathan (USA) Rider of Cannondale - Drapac team and Nils POLITT (Germany / Team Katusha - Alpecin) attacking on Cote d’Esschdorf climb pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

The breakaway and the peloton were briefly in different countries as the front of the race entered Luxembourg in the mid-way point of the stage. Meanwhile behind, the evergreen figure of Laurens Ten Dam was present at the front of the peloton keeping the breaks gap under control for his leader Michael Matthews.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - DE GENDT Thomas (BEL) Rider of Team Lotto - Soudal, PERICHON Pierre-Luc (FRA) Rider of Fortuneo - Vital Concept & CALMEJANE Lilian (FRA) Rider of Direct Energie pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

The composition of the front group was beefed-up significantly as the race entered the final 50km when Thomas De Gendt, Liliam Calmejane and Pierre-Luc Périchon jumped across to the front group, sparking a hectic chase from the peloton.

With this added firepower up-front alarm bells began to sound behind as the power of Calmejane and De Gendt split the breakaway into pieces coming into the undulating finale. With fresh legs prevailing at the front, Calmejane eventually went solo with 15km remaining though this move would prove futile with the bunch hot on his heels. The catch of Calmejane was finally made with 10km to the line as the race continued to heat-up. The BMC team were visible on the front as their leader for the stage, Greg Van Avermaet was obviously fancying his chances.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

The team with several cards to play today was Quick-Step who had local hero Philippe Gilbert, Dan Martin and Matteo Trentin who sat only 10-seconds off the lead at the start of the day. Should he have won the stage he would have claimed the yellow jersey with the bonus seconds on offer. With 5km left to ride they were perfectly placed as the teams frantically battled to be first into the foot of the 1.6km long Cote des Religieuses.

German national champion Marcus Burghardt was first to reach the base of the climb, softening things up for his leader Peter Sagan. As the steeper section of the climb beckoned it was one of the pre-race favorites Richie Porte who hit out first with Contador shadowing on his wheel.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - photofinishpicture made by ASO - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

As the gradients leveled off slightly and the riders began to look around it was time for an extreme show of force from Peter Sagan, who despite unclipping with 150m to the line managed to hold off Michael Matthews and Daniel Martin to claim his first win of the Tour.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

All the major GC riders finished safely in the bunch as they wait in anticipation for the next hilltop showdown on Stage 5. Stay tuned to PEZ for everything Tour!

Tour de France Stage 3 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 5:07:19
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
5. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:02
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
9. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
12. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
13. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
14. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC
15. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
16. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
17. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
18. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
19. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
20. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
21. Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
22. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
23. Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar
24. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
25. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Orica-Scott.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 3:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 10:00:31
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:13
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 0:16
6. Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:25
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:30
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:32
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb at 0:34
11. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:37
12. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:38
13. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:40
14. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
15. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 0:43
16. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
17. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
18. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:45
19. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott
20. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 0:47
21. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:48
22. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar
23. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:49
24. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:51
25. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:52.

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