Tour de France: Merlier winner of a final-hecatomb

The Belgian Tim Merlier (Alpecin) emerged victorious from a final-hecatomb in the 3rd stage of the Tour de France, Monday, in Pontivy.

The Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, of the same team, kept the yellow jersey.

The Australian Caleb Ewan (c) and the Slovakian Peter Sagan fell a few meters from the finish line of the 3rd stage, disputed between Lorient and Pontivy, on June 28, 2021 (POOL / AFP – BENOIT TESSIER)

In the sprint, Australian Caleb Ewan fell on the last curve and dragged Slovakian Peter Sagan to the ground.

The first three favorites of the Tour all had problems in this lowland stage, the third in Brittany.

The outgoing winner, Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE), was delayed in the narrow descent to Pontivy, where a fall knocked down several riders including Frenchman Arnaud Démare.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic, injured in a fall, crosses the finish line of the 3rd stage of the Tour de France, disputed between Lorient and Pontivy, June 28, 2021 (POOL / AFP - BENOIT TESSIER)
Slovenian Primoz Roglic, injured in a fall, crosses the finish line of the 3rd stage of the Tour de France, disputed between Lorient and Pontivy, June 28, 2021 (POOL / AFP – BENOIT TESSIER)

A few minutes earlier, his runner-up in the 2020 edition, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, had found himself on the ground with several of his Jumbo teammates. He left with a delay of more than a minute on the peloton, 10 kilometers from the finish.

Briton Geraint Thomas (Ineos) crashed during the first part of the stage. According to a doctor of the event, the winner of the 2018 Tour could suffer from a dislocation of the right shoulder.

Australian Jack Haig, leader of the Bahrain team, also found himself on the ground.

To win the stage, Merlier, who benefited from the work of van der Poel in the last 2 kilometers, emerged victorious from a sprint distorted by the absence of several of his protagonists. His compatriot Jasper Philipsen took second place ahead of Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni.

The joy of Belgian Tim Merlier, winner of the 3rd stage of the Tour de France, disputed between Lorient and Pontivy, June 28, 2021 (POOL / AFP - Christophe Ena)
The joy of Belgian Tim Merlier, winner of the 3rd stage of the Tour de France, disputed between Lorient and Pontivy, June 28, 2021 (POOL / AFP – Christophe Ena)

Aged 28, Merlier is participating in the Tour for the first time. He won a Giro stage in May.

In this plain stage crossing Morbihan over 182.9 kilometers, the day’s breakaway brought together four riders (Barthe, Chevalier, Schär, Wallays) after the renunciation of a fifth man, Ide Schelling, once the polka dot jersey of the best climber provided by the Dutch at the top of the Cadoudal hill halfway. The last survivors were picked up 5 kilometers from the line.

Tuesday, the sprinters have another chance between Redon and Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine) in the 4th stage limited to 150.4 kilometers and without any classified climb.


Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.

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