Tour de France: Caleb Ewan wins stage 3

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) pushed late to win the sprint in Sisteron, using his speed and bike skills to dive through a gap between Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and the barriers and then pass Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in sight of the finish line.

The sprint was into a strong headwind and Ewan took a risk by staying on the wheels until the final 100 metres. However as others faded, the Australian kept his cool and then made his late surge to victory. 

Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) was the best of the rest behind Ewan and Bennett, with Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation) fourth and Sagan was fifth. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) finished in the peloton and so kept the leader’s yellow jersey before Tuesday’s first mountain top finish to Orcières-Merlette.

After a quiet stage deep into the Provence countryside, the overall contenders dodged around traffic furniture and fought to stay up front into the headwind of the final kilometres.

Luke Rowe dragged his Ineos Grenadiers team leader Egan Bernal to the front with three kilometres to go after a late crash had spooked some riders and taken Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) out of the sprint.

Team Sunweb seemd in charge of the sprint with a kilometre to go, but the headwind made everyone hurt. Daniel Oss led out Sagan, but like Nizzolo, he hit the front too early and was passed by Bennett and then Ewan. Sagan’s only consolation was taking the lead in the green points competition.

Ewan let out a scream of delight after crossing the line to win his fourth Tour de France stage after his three victories of 2019. His Lotto Soudal team was hit by COVID-19 cases amongst race staff before the start of the Tour and then lost John Degenkolb and Philippe Gilbert after the crashes of stage 1.

“The last two days haven't been great for us, obviously the first day we crashed and lost two guys so we're down to six already. But everyone's staying motivated, we all knew that if all went right then I could win the sprint. Everyone did their job today and made up for the two guys we missed. It worked,” the Australian said.

“The guys did a great job keeping me at the front. In the last kilometre I was a bit too far forward so I dropped back a bit into the wheels. That gave me time to rest the legs just a little before the last hit out. 

“I found my way through the wheels - coming from behind is a bit of a risk - but I found my way along the barrier and I came with a lot of speed and it worked in the end,” Ewan said. 

“The first ones were very special but it's the Tour de France and it's the biggest race in the world and it's the one that every rider wants to win at. I'm so happy to get another win and prove that last year wasn't just a fluke. I hope to come back in more years and keep winning.”

Alaphilippe was disappointed for Bennett, but was happy to enjoy his second day this year, and 15th career day, in the leader’s yellow jersey and confident he can keep it on Tuesday.

“You can't see, but I'm smiling (behind a mask). I'm really happy to wear the yellow jersey, we defended it today and we'll do it again tomorrow,” the GC leader said. 

“It’s a big day [stage 4], there's a big climb up to the finish but I hope we're going to do it. We'll take it day by day and see what happens.”

How it unfolded

The riders signed on under a warm sun at the Nice soccer stadium and seemed eager to race on the 198km stage - the second longest of this year’s Tour de France. 

However with the sprinters expected to dominate and the overall contenders. playing a three-week game, allowed the first attack to go clear as soon as race director Christian Prudhomme dropped his race flag.

Oliver Naesen and Benoit Cosnefroy were there for AG2R La Mondiale to defend the polka-dot jersey, as was their main challenger Anthony Perez (Cofidis), who was equal on 18 points with Cosnefroy. Jérôme Cousin (Total Direct Energie) was happy to go along for the ride.

The peloton let them go and Naesen soon dropped back on team orders as Cosnefroy and Perez prepared to battle for the points on the four categorised climbs.

It was Cosnefroy's third day on the attack at this year's Tour and he seemed tired, with Perez beating him on the Col du Pilon after 55km and again on the Col de la Faye after 63km, to become the virtual leader of the climber’s competition.

The peloton watched from a safe distance, with Deceuninck-QuickStep tractor Tim Declercq doing a lot of the early work, pegging the attack at around 2 minutes. Lotto Soudal also helped out. 

With heavy rain showers dampening everyone’s enthusiasm, the break eased up as Cosnefroy and Perez looked at each other, and so did the peloton. The speed dropped to close to 30km/h reminding everyone the Tour de France is a three-week race and not a one-day Classic.

Only Cousin wanted to race and jumped away alone with around 130km to go. He was perhaps inspired by his Paris-Nice stage win in Sisteron in 2018 and so powered on, opening a four-minute lead.

Cousin pressed on the isolated but stunning roads of Provence, finding satisfaction in his solo ride as he went towards Digne-Les-Bains along valley roads. He was the first over the Col des Lèques after 117km, with Cosnefroy re-emerging from the peloton and getting a lead out from teammate Nans Peters to take second. However Perez kept his virtual KOM lead. 

Sadly that lead and his race ended soon after when he crashed on the descent and then apparently was hit by his own Cofidis team car. Perez was forced to abandon the Tour de France.

Cousin was first through the late intermediate sprint after 160km, but 45 seconds behind him there was a real sprint for the other points. Sagan got an excellent lead out from teammate Daniel Oss, taking 17 points, with Niccolò' Bonifazio, Nizzolo and then Alexander Kristoff behind him, who scored 11 points. The final sprint would obviously shake up the points totals. 

Cousin pushed on alone while behind the sprint teams and the GC teams formed near the front to protect their riders. With 20km to go, the speed finally rose and the race came alive. Cousin was caught with 16km to go.

The headwind slowed everyone and no team was able or willing to control the peloton. The best tactic was clearly to come late and Ewan had the bravery, bike skills and speed to do it better than anyone else.

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Full Results
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal05:17:42
2Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickstepRow 1 - Cell 2
3Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro CyclingRow 2 - Cell 2
4Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-Up NationRow 3 - Cell 2
5Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 4 - Cell 2
6Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 5 - Cell 2
7Cees Bol (Ned) Team SunwebRow 6 - Cell 2
8Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 8 - Cell 2
10Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct EnergieRow 9 - Cell 2
11Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-ScottRow 10 - Cell 2
12Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up NationRow 11 - Cell 2
13Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 13 - Cell 2
15Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 14 - Cell 2
16Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 18 - Cell 2
20Simone Consonni (Ita) CofidisRow 19 - Cell 2
21Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLarenRow 20 - Cell 2
22Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team EmiratesRow 21 - Cell 2
23Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team EmiratesRow 22 - Cell 2
24Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 23 - Cell 2
25Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R la MondialeRow 24 - Cell 2
26Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-SamsicRow 25 - Cell 2
27Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 26 - Cell 2
28Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Guillaume Martin (Fra) CofidisRow 28 - Cell 2
30Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 29 - Cell 2
31Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 30 - Cell 2
32Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickstepRow 31 - Cell 2
33Elia Viviani (Ita) CofidisRow 32 - Cell 2
34Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 33 - Cell 2
35Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-SegafredoRow 34 - Cell 2
36Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos GrenadiersRow 35 - Cell 2
37Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team SunwebRow 36 - Cell 2
38Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct EnergieRow 38 - Cell 2
40Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-SamsicRow 39 - Cell 2
41Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 40 - Cell 2
42Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Christophe Laporte (Fra) CofidisRow 42 - Cell 2
44Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team SunwebRow 44 - Cell 2
46Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 45 - Cell 2
47Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-SamsicRow 47 - Cell 2
49Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 48 - Cell 2
50Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-SamsicRow 49 - Cell 2
51Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 50 - Cell 2
52Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 51 - Cell 2
53Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 52 - Cell 2
54Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team SunwebRow 53 - Cell 2
55Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 54 - Cell 2
56Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 55 - Cell 2
57Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLarenRow 56 - Cell 2
58Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickstepRow 57 - Cell 2
59Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-ScottRow 58 - Cell 2
60Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 61 - Cell 2
63Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team SunwebRow 62 - Cell 2
64Jens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 63 - Cell 2
65Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-SamsicRow 64 - Cell 2
66Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 65 - Cell 2
67Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 66 - Cell 2
68Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-ScottRow 67 - Cell 2
69Samuel Bewley (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 68 - Cell 2
70Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro CyclingRow 69 - Cell 2
71Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos GrenadiersRow 70 - Cell 2
72Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 71 - Cell 2
73José Rojas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 73 - Cell 2
75Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 74 - Cell 2
76Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 75 - Cell 2
77Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea-SamsicRow 76 - Cell 2
78Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 78 - Cell 2
80Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-SegafredoRow 79 - Cell 2
81Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 80 - Cell 2
82Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos GrenadiersRow 81 - Cell 2
83Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 82 - Cell 2
84Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain McLarenRow 84 - Cell 2
86Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) CofidisRow 85 - Cell 2
87Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Pro CyclingRow 86 - Cell 2
88Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain McLarenRow 87 - Cell 2
89Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 88 - Cell 2
90Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 89 - Cell 2
91Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct EnergieRow 90 - Cell 2
92Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro CyclingRow 91 - Cell 2
93Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro CyclingRow 92 - Cell 2
94Neilson Powless (USA) EF Pro CyclingRow 93 - Cell 2
95Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team SunwebRow 94 - Cell 2
96Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro CyclingRow 95 - Cell 2
97Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro CyclingRow 96 - Cell 2
98Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-SegafredoRow 97 - Cell 2
99Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro CyclingRow 98 - Cell 2
100Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-SegafredoRow 99 - Cell 2
101Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 100 - Cell 2
102Jesus Herrada (Spa) CofidisRow 101 - Cell 2
103Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro CyclingRow 102 - Cell 2
104Kevin Reza (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 103 - Cell 2
105Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 105 - Cell 2
107Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC TeamRow 106 - Cell 2
108David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 107 - Cell 2
109Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 108 - Cell 2
110Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 109 - Cell 2
111Nicolas Edet (Fra) CofidisRow 110 - Cell 2
112Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Pro CyclingRow 111 - Cell 2
113Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up NationRow 112 - Cell 2
114Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLarenRow 113 - Cell 2
115Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickstepRow 114 - Cell 2
116Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 115 - Cell 2
117Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain McLarenRow 116 - Cell 2
118Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickstepRow 117 - Cell 2
119Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 119 - Cell 2
121Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 120 - Cell 2
122Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 121 - Cell 2
123Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 122 - Cell 2
124Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct EnergieRow 123 - Cell 2
125Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 124 - Cell 2
126Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up NationRow 125 - Cell 2
127Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 126 - Cell 2
128Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 127 - Cell 2
129Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC TeamRow 128 - Cell 2
130Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 129 - Cell 2
131Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro CyclingRow 130 - Cell 2
132Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct EnergieRow 131 - Cell 2
133Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Start-Up NationRow 132 - Cell 2
134André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-Up NationRow 133 - Cell 2
135Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up NationRow 134 - Cell 2
136Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up NationRow 135 - Cell 2
137Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos GrenadiersRow 136 - Cell 2
138Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 137 - Cell 2
139Michael Schär (Swi) CCC TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Pro TeamRow 139 - Cell 2
141Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Pro CyclingRow 140 - Cell 2
142Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos GrenadiersRow 141 - Cell 2
143Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) NTT Pro CyclingRow 142 - Cell 2
144Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:00:26
145Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:00:31
146Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ00:00:40
147Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal00:01:11
148Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott00:01:23
149Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers00:01:37
150Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team00:02:25
151Roman Kreuziger (Cze) NTT Pro Cycling00:02:50
152Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:02:50
153Michael Gogl (Aut) NTT Pro Cycling00:02:50
154Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:02:50
155William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:02:50
156Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:02:50
157Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:02:50
158David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates00:02:50
159Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team00:02:50
160Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team00:03:42
161Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers00:05:11
162Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers00:05:11
163Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:05:11
164Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren00:05:11
165Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:05:11
166Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:05:11
167Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:05:11
168Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma00:05:11
169Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma00:05:11
170Jerome Cousin (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:05:11
171Dayer Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:05:11
172Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe00:07:32
DNFAnthony Perez (Fra) CofidisRow 172 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Digne-Les-Bains km. 160.5
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Jerome Cousin (Fra) Total Direct Energie20
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe17
3Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie15
4Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling13
5Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates11
6Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe10
7Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep9
8Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC Team8
9Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept7
10Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling6
11Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep5
12Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie4
13Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren3
14Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep2
15Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain McLaren1
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Sprint 2 - Sisteron km. 198
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal50
2Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep30
3Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling20
4Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation18
5Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe16
6Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo14
7Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb12
8Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC Team10
9Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept8
10Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie7
11Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott6
12Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation5
13Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Team4
14Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott3
15Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates2
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Mountain 1 - Col Du Pilon km. 55
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis2
2Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale1
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Mountain 2 - Col De La Faye km. 63.5
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis2
2Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale1
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