Caleb Ewan won the third stage of the Tour de France. The Australian was the fastest in the bunch sprint in Sisteron. Dutchman Cees Bol crossed the finish line in seventh place.
Last year 26-year old Ewan was the most successful sprinter in the Tour with three stage wins. Among other things he won the final stage on the Champs-Elysées.
The yellow jersey will remain on the shoulders of Julian Alaphilippe, Sunday’s stage winner.
The breakaway of the day was quickly formed. Just like yesterday Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R) and Anthony Perez (Cofidis) were in it. They got Jérôme Cousin (Total-Direct Énergie) and Oliver Naesen (AG2R).
Naesen let himself fall back a little later, after he had completed his task of riding teammate and leader in the mountain classification Cosnefroy to the front. That the Belgian was in the leading group was already remarkable. He had a fast sprint in his legs and was an outsider for the stage win
Collecting mountain points
Cosnefroy and Perez was mainly to do the mountain points that could be achieved on the road. On the Col du Pilon (third category) it even came to a surplace. In the end Perez gathered most of the mountain points along the way and took over the lead in the mountain classification. However, he had to give up halfway through the stage after a fall, allowing Cosnefroy to start in the polka dot jersey again tomorrow.
Cousin was fed up with the bickering of his two compatriots and, with 127 kilometres to go, took off on his own, on his way to a finish place he knows well. In 2018 he won his biggest victory of his career by winning the fifth stage in Paris-Nice. That was – coincidentally – a stage with a finish in Sisteron. He stayed just ahead of the chasing peloton at that time.
Now 31-year-old rider Total-Direct Énergie had a maximum lead of four minutes. Deceuninck-QuickStep, the team of seasoned rider Alaphilippe, stepped up the pace and quickly reduced Cousin’s lead.
With more than sixteen kilometres to go, the lonely escapee was swallowed up by the peloton. In the remaining kilometres, the sprinting teams led the peloton and no further breakaway attempts were made.
Sam Bennett, one of the favourites for the stage win, seemed to be heading for victory, but was beaten by Ewan on the finish line. Bol, still third in the first stage, had to do it alone in the final meters. The 25-year old Dutchman finished in seventh place.