- Stage 3 is over 133.6km from Reims to Épernay
- Much of the stage and the final climbs are in the champagne vineyards
- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ Futuroscope) won the uphill sprint in Épernay
- Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) kept the leader's yellow jersey
Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 3 of the 2022 Tour de France Femmes.
As the Cyclingnews blip takes height, the riders have left the centre of Reims.
The flag will soon drop for the official stage start.
💇♀️ Getting ready for stage 3️⃣! 💇♀️ Bientôt prêtes pour la 3️⃣ème étape !#TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/GlvVVYXePgJuly 26, 2022
There are still 2km until race director Marion Rousse drops the start flag.
Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) claimed victory on the second stage of the Tour de France Femmes, to become the new overall leader of the race and so pulled on the yellow jersey.
It had seemed written in the stars that the woman universally acknowledged as the greatest of all time would take the yellow jersey at some point, and she did on Monday, 24 hours after narrowly missing out to Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) in the sprint on the Champs-Élysées.
Vos defeated Silvia Persico (Valvar Travel Service) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), as part of a six-woman that went clear just after the immediate sprint, 20km from the finish, after an attack instigated by Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo), and also featured Balsamo’s teammate and GC leader Elisa Longo Borghini and best young rider Maike van der Duin (Le Col-Wahoo).
This group finished 29 seconds ahead of the chasing peloton that included Lorena Wiebes (DSM) in yellow as well as GC contenders Demi Vollering (SD Worx) and Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ), and 34 seconds ahead of another group featuring overall favourite Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar).
Click below to read our full stage report and to see the full results and photo gallery
Marianne Vos prevails in Provins on Tour de France Femmes stage 2
🚩 Stage 3 is underway! 🚩 C'est parti pour l'étape 3 ! 👋@VilledeReims 🔜 @villeepernay 🏁#TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/62sjPRw6qSJuly 26, 2022
Yesterday Silvia Persico (Valcar Travel & Service) celebrated her birthday in the Tour, today it's Emma Norsgaard's turn. The Movistar rider turns 23 today. Happy Birthday?
There are 136 riders still in the race after yesterday's crashes.
Marta Cavalli was stopped by her team after being hit from behind.
Today Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance-NXTG) didn't start following their crashes on stage 2.
The peloton is all together in the opening kilometres as the early attacks fail to get away.
However the pace is high, with some riders already dropped. The pace is high.
We're expecting the serious attacks to come on the Côte de Trépail climb after 20km.
This is the stage profile.
A nine-rider attack was quickly caught, now Martina Alzini (Cofidis) and Thalita De Jong (Liv Racing Xstra) are out front but the peloton is chasing them.
After a fast 10km of racing the peloton is gruppo compatto, nobody can get away.
New attack, including race leader Marianne Vos.
Sometimes attack is the best form of defence!
🚴♀️🚴♀️🚴♀️🚴♀️🚴♀️🚴♀️💨There are many attempts to break away, but the peloton is very fast and nobody manages to open up a real gap. Les tentatives d'échappée se multiplient mais le peloton roule très vite et personne ne parvient à creuser un véritable écart. #TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/NLd11r3fnNJuly 26, 2022
Vos cleverly went on the attack towards the first ascent of the day, the Côte de Trépail. The summit is at km 21.6.
Of course the Vos attack was chased but is not yet caught, with Ellen Van Dijk now doing a lot of the work up front for Trek-Segafredo.
The race came back together on the Côte de Trépail but we now have 4 new attackers.
There is no respite in the attacks so far.
Just like yesterday, Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg) is the first to the top of the first climb of the day.
She is the first to the top of the Côte de Trépail and collects 2 points and so is the virtually in the lead of the mountains classification.
Elise Chabbey (Canyon/SRAM) takes 1 point for her 2nd place.
This video shows the split in the fast-moving peloton.
#TDFF ##WatchTheFemmes After 20 km already split in peloton and even riders on 5 minutes already pic.twitter.com/0jmyrgPxn6July 26, 2022
The 2nd climb of the day comes after 55 kilometres. Now the road rolls up and down through the vineyards until the foot of the Côte de Vertus.
Valentine Fortin of Cofidis made a solo attack but she too was chased down.
The riders have covered a fast 30km without letting a gap open beyond 20 seconds.
We have more attacks.
Pauline Allin (Arkea) has been allowed to go clear and she inspiring other attacks.
Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) has also attacked.
Markus is now 15 seconds behind Allin. Thalita De Jong (Liv Racing Xstra) is chasing at 20 seconds and the bunch trail at 30 seconds.
Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) has found the wheel of Pauline Allin (Arkéa) have a 20-second gap.
But the peloton is chasing hard too.
The rolling hills are perfect terrain for attacking racing.
Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Pauline Allin (Arkéa) lead by 25 seconds but the other riders can see them.
77km to go
Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Pauline Allin (Arkéa) are working together to try and stay away over the Côte de Vertus in 20km or so.
🏁 85km2️⃣🚴🏻♂️ < 20'' < 🚴🏻♂️🚴🏻♂️🚴🏻♂️🚴🏻♂️🚗The leading duo still has a small lead.Le duo de tête a toujours une petite avance.🇫🇷@paulineallin17🇳🇱@MarkusFemke#TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/IDQ1DYREoTJuly 26, 2022
72km to go
SD Worx, DSM and now Jumbo-Visma closed down Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Pauline Allin (Arkéa) and lifted the speed.
The roads are exposed here and the peloton is splitting behind.
Urska Zigart is fighting her way back into the peloton.
The road are exposed now and there is some wind, so FDJ and DSM move up to the front and try to force a split.
65km to go
The race is on flat roads, across exposed fields, hence the fear of crosswinds and attacks.
The hills and the champagne vineyards will come very soon with the Côte de Vertus in 10km.
Phew... After a fast 70km, the pace has finally eased as riders take a drink and eat some food.
The stage to Épernay is one that many of the puncheurs have been looking forward to since the route of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift was announced last year, with climbs that are perfect to launch an attack from coming regularly through the day.
Riders who thrive on the short climbs will surely attack today, while sprinters like Lorena Wiebes are likely to be out the back.
Don't rule out Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), a fierce competitor under any circumstances, but with the yellow jersey on her back the motivation to fight at the front and hold on through the climbs, no matter how fiercely they are raced, will be higher than ever.
Click here to read our full stage preview
56km to go
The Côte de Vertus is just 2km away and the race will soon be on the narrower wine roads.
The pace remains steady but fast as teams try to move up as a unit.
They know the climb is about to start.
Over the top and Gerritse kicks hard to take maximum points.
Chabbey kept going over the top and Gerritse followed her move.
Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) jumps across and suddenly we have an attack.
50km to go
The attack is a threat and so Jumbo-Visma try to chase.
Others riders are attacking too.
The wind is blowing from the riders' left.
More attacks are coming from the peloton.
🆙⛰ Côte de Vertus (Cat-4) - 55km to go👌 @AvVleuten perfectly placed; three of her team-mates few rows behind. All good!🇫🇷 #TDFF pic.twitter.com/zoW4yW4gnyJuly 26, 2022
The riders are back into the vineyards and hills.
The Côte du Mesnil-sur-Oger climb is coming in 5km.
BikeExchange, Jumbo and and UAE are on the front as the Côte du Mesnil-sur-Oger starts.
It is 1.6km long at 6.7%.
Riders are being spat out of the back and there is still 45km to race.
No attacks so far but the climbs through the vines do hurt.
Canyon Sram lead the peloton and Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram) kicks for the KOM sprint. However Gerritse beat her to take the 2 points and keep the jersey.
Canyon SRAM continue the attacks over the top of the climb.
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) is among the riders off the back.
Alena Amialiusik (Canyon//Sram) pushes on alone on the gradual gradient.
The peloton sees happy to let them go.
40km to go
Letizia Borghisi (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) is close to joining Alena Amialiusik (Canyon//Sram) with 38km to go.
Other riders are trying to go across. The bunch is at 25 seconds, and a group with Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) is at 40 seconds
This attack is the early move, perhaps before the big GC-name attacks come.
⚡️ @amialiusik went solo. 🇮🇹Letizia Borghesi is chasing behind her.⚡️ @amialiusik est sortie en solitaire. Derrière elle, 🇮🇹Letizia Borghesi sort en contre. #TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/tzSYGlcIjdJuly 26, 2022
There is hardly a flat section of road in the final 40km.
The next category climb is up to the finish area in central Épernay, where many of the champagne brands are based.
A tight corner slows the peloton. They're at 1:10 now.
This is an interesting attack by Alena Amialiusik (Canyon SRAM).
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) stopped for a natural break but that meant she had to chase to get back on.
Indeed van Vleuten is in a chase group, that Movistar drags them back to the peloton.
However the attacks are coming up front.
Movistar have wisely moved van Vleuten up to the front.
She was lucky there. The race could have escaped Movistar's grasp.
25km to go
The intermediate sprint is just 5km away.
Alena Amialiusik (Canyon SRAM) climbs to the finish area and gets a taste of the steep climb.
This will split the peloton in 24km.
Alena Amialiusik (Canyon SRAM) takes a drink and pushes on but her lead is down to 30 seconds.
Over the top and riders start to attack.
After this fast downhill, the key Côte de Mutigny climb comes with 15km to go.
It is steep, 900m at 12.2%
Here Julian Alaphilippe attacked solo here to go on win the stage of the Tour alone in 2019.
Balsamo leads the peloton on the approach to the climb.
Crash on a corner!
It's Rachel Neylan of Cofidis.
There are more crashes on the fast corners as the Côte de Mutigny nears.
As the Côte de Mutigny begins Movistar close down the attack by Alena Amialiusik (Canyon SRAM)
Van Vleuten is on the front.
Here we go!
There is a selection of ten riders or so.
AVV dances on the pedals but the others stay sat in the saddle to fight the gradient.
Moolman-Pasio ups the pace and Vos is slowly losing contact.
Vos is dropped!
Vollering lead over the top but crashes on a corner.
The riders up front, before the crash, were Van Vleuten, Moolman Pasio, Vollering, Lippert, Persico, Garcia, Longo Borghini.
vos is chasing and is 15 seconds behind. Her yellow jersey it at risk.
The route twists and turns through the vineyards, making everyone suffer.
10km to go
The riders are back in the valley.
With Vos distanced, Persico is the virtual race leader.
up front are Van Vleuten, Moolman Pasio, Persico, Garcia and Longo Borghini.
At 15 seconds are Vos, Vollering, Niewiadoma, Faulkner and others.
💛@marianne_vos can't follow the leading group in the côte de Mutigny, she crosses the line with a 10'' delay. 💛@marianne_vos ne peut pas suivre le groupe de tête dans la côte de Mutigny, elle bascule avec 10'' de retard. #TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/KXy4WrOAhYJuly 26, 2022
Vos is having to do extra long turns as she tries to catch the attackers.
She's closed the gap to 12 seconds but she's using a lot of energy that could cost here.
Moolman-Pasio is sitting on in the attack to try to help Demi Vollering get back on.
The gap between the two groups is just 8 seconds.
This finish is a thriller.
6km to go
The groups come together but Garcia launches the first attack.
5km to go
This is very tactical now as the riders near the late bonus climb and fight for the 3-2-1 bonus seconds.
This Mont Bernon climb cuts through the vineyards. it is 1km long at 4.6%.
The Lippert chase group is at 55 seconds.
Here we go!
Moolman-Pasio ups the pace.
Elise Longo Borghini is the first to top and takes 3 seconds.
Incredibly Van Vleuten is off the back. Is it a bike problem? Or her legs?
2km to go
Vos join Niawiadoma on the descent. They now sweep onto the climb to the finish.
Van Vleuten is off the back as the best in the world prepare to fight for the win.
Van Vleuten is back on.
Vollering leads onto the climb.
Niewiadoma attacks first!
Here comes Vos!
But.... Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig wins stage 3
Vos kicked first but the Dane had more speed and more power She opened a gap of several bike lengths at the finish and had time to celebrate her win.
It's a great win by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig after FDJ's loss of Cavalli yesterday.
Uttrup Ludwig hugs her teammates and is still struggling to realise she just distanced Vos and won the stage.
Uttrup Ludwig came from behind and accelerated past her rivals and kept going.
It was perfect execution, Fleche Wallonne style.
Van Vleuten lost 20 seconds. It seems she has some health issues.
Here's the moment Uttrup Ludwig won.
🏆 @CUttrupLudwig 🇩🇰 wins stage 3!@CUttrupLudwig remporte l’étape 3 !#TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/CHaDHMa7JqJuly 26, 2022
Here's the first shot of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig winning stage 3.
A very emotional Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig talked about her win.
"It feels like such a good comeback after I have to say a fucking shit day yesterday," she said.
"Losing Marta [Cavalli] and crashing and have to come back. I just love how the team kept the fighting spirit. We knew that today was a super good day and if I had the legs I could try and go for the win. To actually do it and be a TDF stage winner in this jersey? Oh my God. It just doesn't get better.
"I don't think I realize it yet. I actually didn't come into the last corner in the best position but I kept fighting. What a victory, man. This is for my team - they did such a good job yesterday and kept believing in me. I love you guys.
"What a year for Denmark."
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is on the podium and it's great to see her teammates below the podium celebrating with her.
The Movistar team has confirmed that Van Vleuten is sick and struggled to eat yesterday and this morning.
This is the final kilometre and all the attacks on the terrible step climb up above Épernay.
We have more photos from the finish.
While Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig celebrated, her rivals suffered.
"I think Cecilie definitely had the best legs in the end, so I can't be disappointed but I just gave it all to be up there in the mix," Marianne Vos said, happy to keep the leader's yellow jersey.
"I don't think I can be disappointed. We tried our best today. We knew it was going to be hard over the climbs. I really had to dig deep. The team put me in a perfect position going into the final but when it really opened on the steep climb I had to let a gap.
"Of course there was some breakaway and then things turned around when there was a crash in front and we came back. Going into the final there were still chances but I gave all I had and this was it."
To see out growing photo gallery, the full stage results and to read out full stage report, click below.
To read about Van Vleuten's sickness problems that cost her time today, click below.
Thanks for joining us for full live coverage of stage 3 of the Tour de France Femmes.
We'll be back on Wednesday for full coverage of stage 4 Troyes to Bar-Sur-Aube for a 126.8km stage that includes four sectors of gravel.
It should be another day of spectacular racing and lots of emotion.
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