Scars from multiple crashes ravaged stage 3 of the Tour de France all along the 182.9km route, but Alpecin-Fenix survived with Tim Merlier winning the stage and Mathieu van der Poel retaining the yellow jersey for a second day. Merlier’s teammate Jasper Philipsen would take second ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic).
The yellow jersey and bike of Mathieu van der Poel was seen at the front of the race with 1.5km to go in the Alpecin-Fenix lead-out, which put Van der Poel safely across the line in seventh and still holding the maillot jaune.
But a day of carnage on the road created havoc with the GC, as well as future stage win hopes. There was a breakaway, with four of the five staying away for 176 kilometres, but the escapees proved secondary to the collisions and derailments.
At the 37-kilometre mark into the 182.9km race depart in Lorient, race favourite Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) went down hard, along with several Jumbo-Visma riders. Thomas was able to remount and push on with a dislocated shoulder, but Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) was forced to abandon due to his injuries.
With just under 10km to go, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) fell hard on the side of the road with teammate Jonas Vingegaard, and with 4km to go, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was involved in a crash on the downhill finish. Both remounted but lost time, with Pogačar moving from third to sixth on GC and Roglič from fourth to 20th.
Within sight of the finish line, a final crash took out Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), with Ewan later taken to hospital and withdrawing due to a right collarbone fracture.
Watch the stage 3 race highlights in the video above.
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