For his first participation in the Grande Boucle, the Belgian Tim Merlier (Alpecin) emerged victorious from a final-hecatomb in the 3e stage of the Tour de France 2021, Monday June 28, in Pontivy.
The Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, of the same team, kept the yellow jersey. In the sprint, Australian Caleb Ewan fell on the last curve and dragged Slovakian Peter Sagan to the ground.
→ THE ROUTE. Find the map of the 2021 Tour de France stages
The first three favorites of the Tour all had problems in this plain stage. The outgoing winner, Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE), was delayed on the narrow descent to Pontivy, where a fall knocked down several riders including Frenchman Arnaud Démare.
Several favorites on the ground
A few minutes earlier, his runner-up in the 2020 edition, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, 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.
→ REPORT Tour de France 2021: by the side of the road, the return of the world before
To win the stage, Merlier, who benefited from the work of van der Poel in the last two 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.
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, June 29, 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.
→ FIND the full classification of the 3rd stage of the Tour de France 2021
→ AND ALSO: the general classification of the Tour de France 2021