TOUR’21 Stage 3: Crash Bang (Again)… Merlier!
Tim Merlier takes another crash marred stage
Stage Report: Another day of crashes, from the start to the finish riders were hitting the tarmac. Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) was the main loser of the GC men, but he wasn’t the only one. In the sprint The yellow jersey of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) led-out Tim Marlier for the stage win. The Dutchman held his overall lead.
Tour stage win for Tim Merlier
– The final kilometre of Stage 3 and read our full report and pics below:-
Tim Merlier won a chaotic third stage of the 2021 Tour de France. The Alpecin-Fenix sprinter was the fastest from a thinned-out peloton in the streets of Pontivy after almost 183 kilometres. The yellow jersey remains in the hands of teammate Mathieu van der Poel, who survived the crazy final. Top favourite Primož Roglič lost valuable time due to a late crash.
Stage 3 profile
Tour boss, Christian Prudhomme describes stage 2: “Warren Barguil, best climber of the 2017 Tour should have all eyes on him as he takes off from his birth area. But he shouldn’t be in the spotlights at the finish: by the Château des Rohan, the sprinters certainly won’t want to miss out on this first opportunity they have to express themselves on this edition.”
Van der Poel looking good in yellow
Mathieu van der Poel and girlfriend Roxanne Bertels at the start of stage 3 in Lorient
The first attack of the day was the right one. After a nod from Jasper De Buyst, Ide Schelling knew that he would be able to collect some KOM points. The BORA-hansgrohe attacker was the wearer of race leader, Mathieu van der Poel’s polka dot jersey and he knew he had to take at least 1 point to get on the podium. There were two climbs of fourth category and Schelling could end up being the actual wearer of the KOM jersey by the end of the day.
Everything yellow – Mathieu’s new bike
Schelling was accompanied by Michael Schär (AG2R Citroën), Jelle Wallays (Cofidis), Cyril Barthe and Maxime Chevalier (B&B Hotels). The five escapees never got more than 4 minutes, because the sprinter’s teams of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Lotto Soudal and Groupama-FDJ had decided to keep the gap small. There was not much nervousness in the peloton, but after an hour there was a big crash.
Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange) has his banana and is ready for stage 3 from Lorient to Pontivy
Ide Schelling (BORA-hansgrohe) looking for KOM points
Geraint Thomas was the first rider to crash hard. The INEOS Grenadiers leader took Robert Gesink, Tony Martin and Steven Kruijswijk with him in his fall, with major consequences for Gesink. The experienced Jumbo-Visma rider had to abandon. Thomas had dislocated his shoulder, but it was quickly put back allowing the Welshman to continue. With the help of some domestiques he quickly managed to get back in the peloton.
More bandages for Tony Martin
The break was not allowed too much time
Halfway through the stage was the first KOM of the day. Schelling was not troubled by his fellow escapees and was able to take the only mountain point, so that he was now in the lead of the classification. Schelling dropped back into the peloton, leaving Schär, Wallays, Barthe and Chevalier in the lead with more than 2 minutes in hand. Coming to the intermediate sprint, some time was taken back by the peloton. Ewan was just ahead of Cavendish.
The peloton wasn’t at full speed, but not hanging around either
Schelling didn’t stay in the break
In the peloton, which was repeatedly hit by rain showers, there were punctures for green jersey Julian Alaphilippe, sprinter André Greipel and Christophe Laporte. They were able to return in time to join the battle of the lead-out trains at the head of the peloton. The peloton was still half a minute behind the three remaining front riders; Chevalier dropped out 15 kilometres from the finish.
Mark Cavendish was very active during the stage
Rain showers on most of the course
Nervousness increased on the narrow Breton roads, this caused a small crash for Valentin Madouas and 10 kilometres from the finish a serious crash of another top favourite, Primož Roglič. The Slovenian fell hard, but managed to continue, bruised and scraped. The peloton was split into several pieces by the crash. A Jumbo-Visma train tried to bring the leader back, but they were already more than a minute behind.
Sprint chaos as Sagan and Ewan hit the deck
It didn’t look good for Ewan
Five kilometres to the finish, the last early escapees were caught by the peloton. An even larger part of the peloton was eliminated for the stage victory due to another heavy crash. Arnaud Démare with many others was involved. The remaining peloton consisted of only about 40 riders. Yellow jersey Van der Poel survived the chaos and took the lead for his teammate 2 kilometres from the finish.
Tim Marlier – The fastest sprinter in the Tour?
Another stage win for Alpecin-Fenix
Alpecin-Fenix then started the bunch sprint with Jonas Rickaert and Jasper Philipsen for Tim Merlier, who finished it off perfectly. In the last chicane there was a crash with Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan, who hit each other and went down.
Damage to Peter Sagan – Caleb Ewan was much worse
Stage winner, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “This is the biggest victory of my career so far – a dream come true. After my victory in the Giro d’Italia I was already very happy, and now I’ve won a stage at the biggest race of the world. I just can’t believe it. You saw how Mathieu [van der Poel] did the lead out? He just loves to do it. Jasper [Philipsen] did an excellent job in the last 700 meters and I only needed to take off with 150 meters to go. I was surprised I didn’t have anyone on my wheel, but I heard there was a crash… so I guess that’s why. This Tour has already been a success for us at Alpecin-Fenix. We are very happy with these two stages and Mathieu’s Yellow jersey. I hope to reach Paris and fight for the victory in the Champs-Elysées.”
Mathieu, more than happy
Overall leader, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I felt very good today. I wanted to help my teammates today if I could, although I also had to focus on defending the yellow jersey. The final kilometres were super hectic, with a lot of crashes. I like leading out and I wanted to be on the front as much as possible in order to keep my guys safe. My team actually likes to make the final kilometres as fast as possible in order to avoid the fight for the position within the bunch. I’m happy I can give something back to my teammates, who are always working for me. When I peeled off with one kilometre to go, I focused on following Alaphilippe because there is only a small gap between us on the GC. It’s special to wear this yellow jersey in France. It is pretty unique, pretty big. It’s unbelievable what the team just did today. This Tour has already been a success for us. Everything that comes afterwards is a bonus.”
Not a good day for Roglič
Tour de France Stage 3 Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:01:28
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
4. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Cees Bol (Ned) DSM
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash
11. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
12. Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
13. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
14. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) DSM
15. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
16. Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
17. Nils Eekhoff (Ned) DSM
18. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:14
19. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar
20. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
21. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
22. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech
23. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
24. Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies
25. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 3:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 12:58:53
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:08
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:31
4. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:38
6. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:39
7. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 0:40
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:45
10. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 0:52
11. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
12. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
13. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
14. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) BikeExchange
15. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo
16. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:55
17. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech
18. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:07
19. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 1:12
20. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:35
21. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange at 1:42
22. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:43
23. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 1:47
24. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
25. Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Qhubeka-NextHash at 2:21.