Tour de France: Sagan goes long to win in Longwy

World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the hard-fought battle for the stage victory on the third stage of the Tour de France, taking out the uphill finish into Longwy ahead of a hard-charging Michael Matthews (Sunweb). Dan Martin (QuickStep Floors) was a plucky third place on the Côte de Religieuses.

The difficult, twisting climb to the finish line was not expected to provide a test for the GC men, but Richie Porte (BMC Racing) nonetheless attacked and briefly opened up a gap on his rivals. He had one problem: Peter Sagan, who put on a burst of speed to close him down.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) accelerated onto Sagan's wheel when world champion's foot suddenly slipped off his pedal, but Sagan recovered quickly and was able to re-accelerate and take the victory. Matthews put on a real show of strength to move up on the right-hand side but crossed the finish line millimetres behind Sagan.

"It was a pretty hard climb," Sagan said of the finish. "BMC did a good job for Richie and after he attacked in the last 800m, he got a little gap. After, I decided to go - I guess it was too early - it was 400m to go. It was far away, in the moment, I said 'fuck, again too early'. Then I started my sprint, and as I pushed - I pulled my feet out from the cleat. It was another mistake, I was like, 'what is happening today?' - after I that I won. Matthews almost beat me, but I am very happy for this victory and thank you Bora-Hansgrohe."

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The results brought few changes in the GC, as expected, even if Porte's attack gave Team Sky a bit of a start. Geraint Thomas (Sky) held on to his lead, while teammate Chris Froome moved up to second, at 12 seconds. Matthews propelled himself to third, also at 12 seconds, and Sagan moved up to fourth, one further second down.

"We went into the climb a little far back so had to move up before the corner as Richie attacked," Thomas said, "and we stayed around that position all the way to the line. All the boys were working then Kwiato [Michal Kwiatkowski] was last then to guide me and Froomey up the last bit.

"It was a hectic day," Thomas said. "When those three guys got across, the peloton had to speed up a lot. It was not relaxing, so I am happy to get through it with Froomey. One day down, and it’s certainly good to get through days like that unscathed."

How it unfolded

The peloton took of from Philippe Gilbert's hometown Verviers to cover another long 212.5 kilometres. But this time they had sunshine to look forward to, instead of the rain that accompanied them the first two stages.

Adam Hansen, in his 18th consecutive Grand Tour, attacked to spark the day's breakaway. The Lotto-Soudal rider was joined in the group by Nate Brown (Cannondale-Drapac), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie).

Brown took the points on the first of three ranked climbs, the category 4 Cote de Sart. The riders later had a treat as they took a lap on the smooth Formula 1 track at Spa.

The breakaway worked well together but the peloton wasn't willing to let them build up much of a gap. It stayed at around two minutes most of the day.

The race then moved into its second country of the day, Luxembourg. There, Politt easily took the day's only intermediate sprint, and he also claimed the next mountain ranking, the category 4 Cote de Wilzt. Brown chased him and the two battled for points on the next climb 15 km later, the cat. 3 Cote d'Eschdorf, with Brown winning out, moving him into the virtual mountains jersey.

The two then waited for their companions to catch up, and the gap gradually fell over the next kilometres. When their advantage hit less than a minute, three more riders bridge up from the peloton: Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro). The fresh power moved the gap back up to about 1:20 with 50 km to go, but their chances of making it to the end looked slim.

The three newcomers jumped from the group, soon joined by Hardy. Politt and Brown had hoped to be in the fight for further mountain points but were unable to catch up. As the gap to the four leaders increased, Hansen took off on a solo chase, as Politt fell back into the peloton.

Ag2R La Mondiale captain Romain Bardet dropped back with a mechanical with some 40km left, and the team had to send back two helpers to bring him back up. The tempo in the field had increased, and the French team used up a lot of energy to rejoin.

Up front, Hansen fell back into the peloton, joining most of his former break companions. With 35km to go, the four leaders had a lead of 1:44. Sunweb's veteran Laurens ten Dam put on a show of strength to pull the peloton along in chase.

With 22km left, Hardy, De Gendt and then Perichon threw in the towel, leaving only Calmejane up front to take the third mountain ranking of the day with a 28 second lead over the peloton.

The young Frenchman fought hard but had no chance against the strong-willed peloton, which ruthlessly slashed his gap, catching him with 10 km to go.

The pace was high and the field flew down the long descent leading up to the finale. In the last 1.6km, the climbing started punishing the peloton with an 11% gradient partway up on the tricky run-in to the finish line.

Inside the final kilometre, Porte jumped into the lead, with Contador on his wheel, catching Thomas and Froome out for a moment and looking like he might dance away for an important stage victory. But it was not to be for the pre-race favourite.

"It wasn’t at all [premeditated]," Porte said. "The guys put me in a fantastic position, and I felt good. But then with 500 metres to go, it was a little far out. It was probably out of the question for me once Sagan came up."

Sagan surged to close in and then pass the Australian. Van Avermaet gave chase, along with Martin. Sagan had a moment of panic as his foot slipped from the pedal, but kept his composure and re-accelerated, fending off the late acceleration of Matthews.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe5:07:19
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
3Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors
4Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:02
6Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
7Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
8Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
9Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
10Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
11Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
12Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
13Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
14Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
15Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
16Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
17Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
18Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
19Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
20Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
21Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
22Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
23Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team
24Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
25Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Orica-Scott
26Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky
27Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
28Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
29Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
30Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:10
31Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
32Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
33Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
34Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
35Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
36Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
37Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
38Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ
39Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro0:00:15
40Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb
41Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:19
42Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
43Brice Feillu (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro0:00:20
44George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
45Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
46Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb
47Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
48Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:25
49Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team
50Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
51Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott0:00:28
52Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
53Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
54Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
55Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott
56Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
57Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:35
58Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
59Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky
60Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie
61Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:00:39
62Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:00:51
63Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:58
64Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
65John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo0:01:05
66Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
67Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
68Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
69Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo
70Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
71Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro Team
72Scott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension Data0:01:29
73Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:37
74Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
75Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
76Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
77Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
78Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
79Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
80Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida
81Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
82Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:42
83Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac0:01:49
84Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
85Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
86Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
87Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida
88Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
89Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
90Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
91Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
92Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
93Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
94Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott
95Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
96Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin
97Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal
98Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-Scott
99Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
100Florian Vachon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
101Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
102Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
103Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates
104Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
105Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
106Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
107Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
108Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
109Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Bahrain-Merida
110Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ
111Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb
112Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step Floors0:02:05
113Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
114Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:02:36
115Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:02:52
116Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
117Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team
118Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ
119Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
120Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
121Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates
122Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data
123André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
124Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
125Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
126Daniel Mclay (GBr) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
127Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
128Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
129Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Sunweb
130Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
131Laurent Pichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
132Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie
133Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie
134Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct Energie
135Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb
136Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
137Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb
138Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
139Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
140Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:02
141Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
142Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
143Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
144Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
145Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates
146Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
147Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
148Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
149Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:03:07
150Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
151Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
152Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-Scott0:03:12
153Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac0:03:16
154Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
155Matteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
156Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal
157Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:03:24
158Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:26
159Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
160Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
161Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data
162Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin
163Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team0:03:46
164Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ0:03:49
165Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
166Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky0:03:53
167Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data
168Taylor Phinney (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
169Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
170Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:03:58
171Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
172Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:04:06
173Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:04:14
174Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
175Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
176Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:04:19
177Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ0:04:26
178Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ
179Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:04:46
180Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data0:05:28
181Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin0:05:42
182Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
183Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:06:23
184Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:09:28
185Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
186Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Sunweb0:11:46
187Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal
188Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie0:11:54
189Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
190Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
191Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team0:12:29
192Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
193Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
194Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
195Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ0:24:10
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Intermediate sprint
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin20pts
2Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert17
3Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie15
4Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal13
5Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro11
6Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac10
7Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data9
8Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida8
9Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates7
10Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe6
11André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal5
12Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ4
13Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors3
14Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb2
15Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe1
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe30pts
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb25
3Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors22
4Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team19
5Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac17
6Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ15
7Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team13
8Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky11
9Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky9
10Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe7
11Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team6
12Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5
13Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal4
14Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team3
15Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal2
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Mountain (Cat. 4) Côte de Sart, km. 18.0
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac1
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Mountain (Cat. 4) Côte de Wiltz, km. 105.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin1
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Mountain (Cat. 3) Côte d'Eschdorf, km. 120.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac2pts
2Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin1
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Mountain (Cat. 4) Côte de Villers-la-Montagne, km. 197.0
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie1
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Mountain (Cat. 3) Côte des Religieuses, km. 212.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe2pts
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb1
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Most combative
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
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Young riders
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac5:07:21
2Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
4Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
5Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
6Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
7Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:08
8Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
9Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro0:00:13
10Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:33
11Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro Team0:01:03
12Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:35
13Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
14Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
15Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:47
16Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-Scott
17Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb
18Daniel Mclay (GBr) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro0:02:50
19Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
20Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:00
21Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:03:05
22Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
23Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac0:03:14
24Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:24
25Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:47
26Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:04:44
27Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:06:21
28Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team0:12:27
29Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ0:24:08
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