Tour de France: Julian Alaphilippe wins 3rd stage and wins yellow jersey
French mountain king Julian Alaphilippe took his first chance for a stage victory in the Tour de France and took the yellow jersey with a spirited solo.
On the 215-kilometer stage from Binche to Epernay, the 27-year-old sat down at the last mountain classification and could not catch on the last 16 kilometers.
Including the bonus seconds, it was enough for the professional from Team Deceuninck-Quick-Step on Monday to the surprising overall lead, which had to hand over the nearly five-minute suspended Dutchman Mike Teunissen from Team Jumbo-Visma.
Alaphilippe: "The final was perfect for me"
"Today's final is perfect for me," Alaphilippe, who had taken the mountain jersey last year, had already speculated before the tricky first crossing to France. He should be right.
"I have already achieved my goals this year," said Alaphilippe. He had already marked the spring with victories at Milan-Sanremo and Flèche Wallonne. On Monday he also mastered the difficult final spurt with a gradient of up to 15 percent in French Champagne.
Second place went to Michael Matthews of Australia, third was Belgian Jasper Stuyven. Also, the German champion Maximilian Schachmann mixed properly and showed up on the Côte de Mutigny with an attack, before he was overtaken on the following descent back from the field.
Thomas and Bernal with pursuers at the finish
The top favorites around Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal from Team Ineos came with the Alaphilippe pursuers to the finish. Bernal drove for five seconds on the Welsh titleholder Thomas out. The German hope Emanuel Buchmann came at the same time with Thomas to the finish.
The hitherto most difficult stage with four short but steep climbs on the last 42 kilometers did not give the pure sprinters like Dylan Groenewegen, Elia Viviani or the German André Greipel any chance. Already in the first two climbs had to demolish some sprinters, also yellow carrier Teunissen could not keep up fast.
One day after the overwhelming success of Jumbo-Visma in team time trial, the German Tony Martin - at least initially - moved back into focus. For more than 80 kilometers, the tirelessly busy 34-year-old led the peloton in the wind before he was redeemed and dropped back to the end of the field, exhausted.
Tour de France: Next chance for sprinters
"It's totally okay for me, I can sacrifice 100 percent for the team," Martin said after triumphing under the world-famous Atomium in Brussels. This he proved impressively a day later.
On Tuesday (12.10 clock / Eurosport) offers after the first hilly stage, the next chance for the sprinters. On the 213.5 kilometers from Reims to Nancy are just two climbs of the fourth category to cope.
Jumbo-Visma then wants to retract the third stage victory on the fourth race day after losing the yellow jersey with top Sprinter Groenewegen, who had fallen badly to start.