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Tour de l'Ain stage 3 - Live coverage


Before we go too far, let's take a look at the lay of the land ahead of the stage. 

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 7:14:58

2 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Team Ineos 0:00:10

3 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:12

4 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:16

5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 

6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:23

7 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:00:31

8 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:32

9 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 

10 Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team 0:00:36

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the final stage of the Tour de l'Ain. Can Primoz Roglic maintain his race lead?

The race is due to start in about 30 minutes. It's a balmy 27C in the start town of Saint Vulbas at the moment but it will get much hotter as the racing heats up, too. 

Yesterday was quite the ding dong battle between Ineos and Jumbo-Visma. Roglic came out on top thanks to a huge amount of work from his team. While Ineos seemingly imploded, Bernal held tight to the Jumbo-Visma train to keep the GC battle alive. Read more about what happened, here (opens in new tab)

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Of course, it is not just between Bernal and Roglic for the title today. Valerio Conti, Nairo Quintana and Bauke Mollema are all within striking distance of the race lead. It will be an intreguing finale with plenty of altitude metres to make the selection. 

The general classification is up for grabs today but so is the mountains classification. Julien Bernard has the jersey today after making it into the break yesterday. Will we see him breaking away again today?

1 Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 34

2 Ivan Centrone (Lux) Natura4ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole 20

3 Jaakko Hanninen (Fin) AG2R la Mondiale 16

4 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 15

5 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team 15

6 Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 13

7 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 10

8 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Team Ineos 7

9 Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation 7

10 Martin Salmon (Ger) Team Sunweb 7

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Don't forget, there are two other races going on today. Both the Tour de Pologne and the Czech Tour have their final stages. We will have reports and results from both races later today. 

Sign-on is done and the riders are just about to set off into the neutral zone. Racing should begin properly in about 10-15 minutes. 

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Unlike yesterday, there is next to no climbing in the first half of the stage. The big stuff comes right at the end and is tightly packed together. It will be a relentless and brutal finale. 

Deceuninck-QuickStep lost the yellow leader's jersey at the Tour de l'Ain yesterday but they picked one up at the Tour de Pologne with Remco Evenepoel taking a stunning win with a 51km solo break. The Belgian dedicated his victory to teammate Fabio Jakobsen, who suffered a horrific crash earlier in the week. Read more on that here. (opens in new tab)

There was also some very dramatic racing at the first Monument of the season, Milan-San Remo. It still feels strange to have had La Primavera in August, but this is the season that is 2020. The course was different but it was still a classic San Remo with a slow burn building up to a thrilling finale. Wout van Aert came out on top, just ahead of Julian Alaphilippe. Read the full report on yesterday's brilliant race. (opens in new tab)

The race radio is crackling into life as the racing gets underway. The opening stretch is pretty flat so we can expect some fast racing up to the first climb of the day. 

Interestingly, after just over 34km today's route will follow that of stage 15 of this year's Tour de France. It will be an opportunity for the GC riders to test the course out under proper racing conditions ahead of the big event later this month. 

With that in mind, the Tour de France's course maps can give us a closer look at today's climbs and the challenges that they pose. As you'll see in a moment, the first two climbs Montee de la Selle de Fromentel and the Col de la Biche almost run into eachother with the descent of one seamlessly becoming the ascent on the other. 

Stage 15 climbs at the Tour de France

(Image credit: Tour de France/ASO)

The Grand Colombier will be the scene for today's finale. It is 17.4km long with an average gradient of 7.1%. It has multiple sections at 12% and will prove a stern test for the GC hopefuls. 

Grand Colombier climb

(Image credit: Tour de France/ASO)

The fight for the breakaway has been hostly contested so far and there have been lots of attacks coming off the front of the peloton. It's proving hard to get away on these flat roads and nothing has stuck just yet. 

The attacks and digs off the front are still coming from the peloton. Nothing has snapped the elastic yet. 

Roglic has looked in fine form throughout the opening two days of this race. He and his team tried to shake things up on day one and only narrowly missed out on the stage win. They weren't about to miss out again yesterday and blew apart the peloton, before Roglic converted the effort into victory and the race lead. This is what the Slovenian had to say following yesterday's stage:

"I was actually surprised that we were in the leading group with three guys from our team. It just shows how well everyone has come out of the past training period. It is nice to compete when you feel strong. 

"This was a great team performance. All the boys showed how strong they were. George did a lot of work. Steven attacked. I wanted to wait for the sprint myself. It was nice that I could finish it off today better than yesterday. I am very happy that I can finally ride again and do my job. I enjoy it so much."

The first climb of the day comes after about 70km of racing. It's plenty of time for a breakaway to get away, but will the peloton let it get away? 

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98km to go

An 11 rider group has built a small advantage of 20 seconds over the peloton. We're still a bit over 20 kilometres away from the first climb of the day. 

Away from the racing here in France, news has come in that Richard Carapaz has been forced to abandon the Tour de Pologne. The Ineos rider crashed heavily yesterday. His teammate Ian Stannard also had a crash and suffered a dislocated shoulder. 

There is a small bit of wind out there today but it's more of a gentle breeze than anything else at the moment. I'm sure there'll be some riders who are grateful for it under the warming temperatures. 

Make that 12 riders in that front group, which now has two minutes on the peloton behind. I'll bring you names as soon as I can get hold of them. 

Here we go, strap in: Romain Seigle and Leo Vincent (Groupama-FDJ), Andrea Bagioli and Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal), Will Barta, Joey Rosskopf and Georg Zimmermann (CCC Team), Mads Schmidt Würtz (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Thymen Arensman (Sunweb).

No surprise to see Bernard back in there in the polka-dot jersey. Rosskopf is not too far back in the mountains classification either after getting into the breakaway yesterday. Interesting to see Bagioli in there after he lost the leader's jersey yesterday. He's got nothing to lose now. 

There appears to be a small quibble over the exact make-up of this breakaway as there is one rider missing from the official list. Team Sunweb is reporting that Sam Oomen is also in there for the German team. 

Breakaway at the Tour de l'Ain on stage 3

(Image credit: Tour de l'Ain)

We're almost upon the Montee de la Selle de Fromentel, which is 11.1kmm long at an average gradient of 8.1%.

Looking back at yesterday's Milan-San Remo again. Have you recovered from the drama yet, because I don't think I have. Anyway, Wout van Aert showed he is the man to beat in the coming months with his victory. With words that will worry his rivals, he says he doesn't know where his limits are. Read his reaction to taking his first Monument title, here.  (opens in new tab)

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This first climb of the day starts out benign enough. It is in the final three kilometres of the ascent where it gets toughest with gradients of over 14% at times. 

The fast start will tell for some as their tired legs protest against the gradients. The few sprinters in the pack are likely to pull the parachute too and ride gruppetto to the finish. This is not a day for them. 

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As you can see from that picture, the riders have been through today's feed zone. They're going to need the contents of their musette to get over the second half of this stage. 

Jumbo-Visma is very much in control of the peloton at the moment. Things have calmed down slightly as riders get refreshments on-board. 

We have more here on Richard Carapaz's abandon of the Tour de Pologne (opens in new tab). The Ineos rider crashed heavily while wearing the leader's jersey. 

Ineos suffered a crash at the Tour de l'Ain yesterday, too, when Tao Geoghegan Hart hit the deck. He was able to finish the stage and start this morning. The team will need everything they have if they want to overhaul the in-form Jumbo-Visma team today. 

Jumbo-Visma has been pretty formidable throughout this race. They set their stall out in the opening stage, as they tried to set up Roglic for the win. In an unusual sight, Tom Dumoulin worked as the lead-out man for the Slovenian. Yesterday, after a big turn from Robert Gesink, Dumoulin turned on the tap and blew the peloton apart on the final climb. That was followed up by huge efforts from George Bennett and Steven Kruijswijk to put Roglic in prime position once again. 

Primoz Roglic and George Bennett at the start of stage 3 of the 2020 Tour de l'Ain

Primoz Roglic and George Bennett at the start of stage 3 of the 2020 Tour de l'Ain (Image credit: Tour de l'Ain)

We've got a bit of radio silence at the moment on the race situation. They could be in Switzerland for all I know (though I'm sure they're not). We'll keep plugging along blindly and hope the radio crackles back into life soon. 

As I mentioned right at the start of our live coverage, most of today's stage heads over the same roads as stage 15 of this year's Tour de France. The Tour starts in just 20 days' time and today is a perfect chance for the riders to test out the course. It's no surprise that we have some of the big Tour de France favourites here at this three-day race.

48km to go

Some information coming through at last as the gap to the breakaway is cut down to just 31 seconds. It appears that Ineos is setting a pace on the front of the bunch. 

The first climb blew past with little or no information. The riders are now onto the second climb of the day and the race is beginning to explode. 

Riders are losing touch of this front group and we have about three groups ahead of the peloton at the moment. Andrea Bagioli has been dragged back by the Ineos-led peloton. 

My mistake. Bagioli has not been caught by the peloton at all. Quite the opposite, infact. He has a 55-second gap on the chasing bunch. 

Bagioli was in the race lead yesterday, after winning the first stage. He put in a very good effort on stage 2 but could not hold on once Jumbo-Visma started hammering it on the front of the bunch. 

The peloton is quickly deminishing under the pace at the front. We're seeing a serious selection being made. It is just Bagioli remaining out front. 

36km to go

Bagioli has extended his lead to about 1:30 over the much reduced peloton. He now has Bernard with him. 

Some riders are regaining touch with the main group as we take on the descent of the Col de la Biche. I'd guess that there are no more than about 30 riders in this group. Ineos is really setting a punishing pace. 

The leaders are sweeping down this descent with relative ease. The will want as much of a gap as possible on the riders behind when they hit the foot of the final climb with 17km to go. 

29km to go

Riders are taking the lull between the two climbs as a an opportunity to take on some refreshments and gels. It has been a very fast-paced stage thus far and there'll be some tired legs out there. 

Bagioli and Bernard are working well together out at the front on this flatter section. Having had the lead yesterday, Bagioli is now in 25th overall at 6:49 down. He is wearing the green points jersey. Roglic is leading that classification but he's obviously wearing the leader's jersey. 

Geraint Thomas is leading the peloton at the moment. He hung on a little longer than some of his teammates yesterday but he lost touch with the group of favourites well before they hit the top of the final climb. Given his efforts right now, I don't anticipate he'll be hanging about too long on the final climb. 

At the moment, Bernal has Thomas, Froome, Castroviejo and Amador with him. 

Jumbo-Visma has just three riders with Roglic in the leading group. It looks like Dumoulin, Kruijswijk and Bennett, who were his final men in yesterday's stage. 

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19km to go

Nairo Quintana is sitting neatly behind the two big trains. He has a teammate with him. The Colombian looks like he's working his way back to form after that horrible trainign crash that he had. He didn't look in trouble at all in yesterday's stage. 

The gap to the two leaders is bouncing around between one minute and 1:30. At the moment, it's sitting at 1:17. Geraint Thomas is still pacing the peloton. 

Less than a kilometre until the start of the Grand Colombier. 

Off we go! The leaders are onto the climb and the peloton is almost there. 

16.9km to go

The gap is quickly down to 54 seconds. The leaders are going to struggle to maintain this gap at this rate. 

Geraint Thomas' job is done for the day. He peels off and Amador takes over. 

Thomas picks up some gels and a bidon from the team car. He's just going to take his own time up the climb now. 

15.9km to go

Bernard is leading the way up front. Bagioli is sitting on his wheel, happy to let the Frenchman take the helm. 

The gap is now down to 47 seconds for the two leaders. Ineos continues to set the pace in this ever diminishing group. There are gaps appearing as the gradients get tougher. 

Interestingly, Richie Porte is in the group of favourites today. He was very much missing in action yesterday, leaving Trek-Segafredo's hopes on Bauke Mollema's shoulders. Will he have a go himself today or play the teammate role for Mollema?

15km to go

Just 27 seconds now remain for the two leaders. 

Yesterday's last man standing in the break Hanninen has been dropped from the peloton. Aru is struggling on the back already. 

Ineos have the leaders in their sights. The catch will soon be made. 

14km to go

Just 15 riders left in the group of favourites. Jan Hirt is just about hanging onto the back. 

A little arm bump between the two breakaway riders as they know their day out front is over. It's the done thing now in these Covid-19 times, no handshakes here. The two are reeled in and they shoot straight out the back. 

13km to go

Roglic and Bernal still have three teammates with them. Amador still pushing the pace on with Castroviejo behind him. Chris Froome is sitting just behind Bernal, in fourth wheel. 

Jan Hirt has been dropped from the group. He has some tears in his shorts. It looks like he's had a crash at some point today. 

Amador pulls off and almost comes to a halt on a steep corner. Castroviejo is now on the front. 

12.7km to go

Bernal moves back down the group. He's now sitting almost at the back of this group of favourites. It looks like he wants to keep an eye on his rivals. 

Another rider who was missing in action yesterday that has made it into this group of favourites today is Dan Martin. He lost more than 12 minutes yesterday. 

So, in this group we have: Castroviejo, Froome, Dumoulin, Bennett, Roglic, Kruijswijk, Quintana, Bernal, Porte, Mollema, Dan Martin, Guillaume Martin and Almaeda. 

12km to go

Bernal is eight riders back, sitting just behind his compatriate Quintana. 

It's a fast pace being set by Castroviejo but the riders in the group seem fairly comfortable with it as things stand. 

Castroviejo has really put down his name for Ineos' Tour de France team in the last few days. He put in a huge ride after being dropped yesterday and was key helper for Bernal at the foot of the final, unclassified, climb. 

11.4km to go

Froome now moves to the front and Castroviejo gets a little break. 

Riders are dropping back for drinks. Normally you can't do this in the final 20km but it is often allowed on hot days like this. 

Bernal now lurking around right at the back of the group. Is he tired or does he just like the view from there? We'll find out soon, I'd wager. 

10.2km to go

Froome continues to set the pace. We've got a bit of a lull now as everyone sets into a rhythm.

Froome is widing it up and he's grimacing under the strain. 

It's rare to see Froome pullign facial expressions like this. It shows the effort he is pulling right now. Meanwhile, Dumoulin looks like he's thinking about what he's going to have for tea. 


The pace is increasing and we're seeing riders getting out of the saddle to maintain it. Castroviejo now moves forward and Froome steps back for just a moment. They swap back almost as quickly. 

Froome gets out of the saddle, he's gritting his teeth and then he goes bang. That is Froome's job done for the day. He's had a much better ride today than he did yesterday. 

Castroviejo is back on the front and he's setting a difficult pace. In fact, its so difficult that Bernal is dropped!

8km to go

Castroviejo has to move back. Bernal needs help. 

Mollema has been distanced but Porte is still up there.

Castroviejo is now back with Bernal, who has rejoined this group of favourites. 

Kruijswijk was another of the riders who got distanced under that pace. He's now at the back of the group as Bernal and Castroviejo move back up. 

7.2km to go

Castroviejo actully pulls out a gap on the group of favourites. It doesn't look like he did it intentionally and he sits up slightly. He moves back and drops to Bernal, who is in the middle of the group. 

Dumoulin is now setting the pace. He's unzipped his jersey now, he's feeling the heat. 

Roglic is in second wheel with Bennett behind him. Quintana is just behind Bennett. 

Dan Martin looks like he's struggling and he keeps letting a gap go. He's stcking in there just for now. 

6.9km to go

Castroviejo has gone bang. He's done another super job today and he waves goodbye to the leading group. 

Let me break down who is in through group, agsin. We have Dumoulin, Roglic, Bennett, Kruijswijk, Bernal, Quintana, Porte, Dan Martin and Guillaume Martin. 

Dumoulin setting a harsh pace but Roglic looks pretty comfortable for now. He's happy sitting in his teammate's wheel. 

6.2km to go

It's always hard to tell how much Dan Martin is struggling because he often has a pained expression on his face. He does seem to be in a little bit of difficulty at the back of this group. 

Meanwhile, Guillaume Martin is moving up the group. Is he planning something? 

5.9km to go

Bernal and Roglic are now both at the back of the pack. Curiouser and curiouser...

Is Roglic trying to get a sense of how his rival is doing? Is he making sure he doesn't miss an attack from the Colombian?

Roglic moves back into his team train and Bernal follows him up. Quintana is in between the pair at the back of the Jumbo-Visma train. 

4.8km to go

It is a waiting game right now. Nobody seems eager to take a punt off the front. 

No sight of the dropped riders on the road behind. It doesn't appear that we'll have any last-minute entries into this group of favourites. 

4km to go

Dumoulin is still setting the pace. He doesn't look like he's going to pull off any time soon. 

3.2km to go

There are a few plateau's on this climb and they're providing small opportunities for the riders to catch their breath. We still wait for someone to take the bull by the horns. 

It's like staring competition right now. Nobody wants to blink first or they could love everything. 

2.8km to go

Porte attacks

He sits up briefly and attacks again, Dumoulin is pulling along the chase

Porte's move has blown things up, Dumoulin goes pop, Bernal has to struggle back on and Dan Martin has been dropped. 

Porte has been reeled in by George Bennett, who is leading this group of favourites

It's now Bennett, Roglic, Quintana, Guillaume Martin, Porte and Bernal in the leading group. 

2km to go

Bennett is ramping up the pace. He can see that Bernal is struggling. 

Porte attacks again

Bennett drags him back but Roglic leaves a gap that he has to pull back himself. 

1.4km to go

Behind, Dumoulin, Kruijswijk and D Martin are trying to bridge back up. 

Bernal still resolutely at the back of this leading group. Roglic moves back to sit right in front of him. 

Under the flamme rouge now

Porte attacks agin, Bennett and Quintana chase

Porte is in a feisty mood today

Bennett peels off now, he looks like he's done

Bernal attacks

Roglic is hot on his heels

Quintana has been dropped

Bernal and Roglic together

Roglic moves in front of Bernal and he moves ahead now

Roglic attacks

Roglic wins the stage and the overall

Bernal is second at three seconds back

Quintana is third and Guillaume Martin crosses the line in fourth

Another pitch perfect ride from Roglic. 

Bernal looked to be struggling throughout that final climb but he put in a mighty effort in that final 400 metres. 

Roglic and Bernal fist bump in the little tent by the podium. Respect between competitors who have given it their all. 

Mollema crosses the line almost two minutes back and Castroviejo is not too far behind him. 

Riders crossing the line in ones and twos. This was a brutal finish to the three-day race. 

Porte couldn't quite get the attack to stick but he put in a very good ride today after struggling mightily in yesterday's stage. I don't know what happened to the Australian yesterday but he will have taken a morale boost from that ride today. 

This is how it finished on the line on the Grand Colombier

1 Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 04:06:24
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 00:00:04
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic 00:00:06
4 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:08
5 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:15
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:23
7 George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:31

Bernal still found himself isolated right at the end of the stage but Ineos will be much more content with their collective performance today. If I don't see Castroviejo at the Tour then I'll eat my hat. Froome and Thomas still have some work to do over the coming three weeks but that was a much better showing. 

This is the final classification after the stage

1 Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 11:21:12
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 00:00:18
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic 00:00:28
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:56
5 George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 00:01:27
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:02:24
7 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:02:40
8 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:02:45
9 Jesùs Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 00:03:39
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 00:04:26

If you want to relive today's action at the Tour de l'Ain, we will have a full report, results and pictures here soon. (opens in new tab)

It is telling that Jumbo-Visma got three riders in to the top 10 overall. They put in a dominant team performance, something that we've been used to seeing from Ineos (or Team Sky) in the past. 

Primoz Roglic wins stage 3 of the Tour de l'Ain

Primoz Roglic wins stage 3 of the Tour de l'Ain (Image credit: Tour de l'Ain)

Primoz Roglic spoke at the finish line and this is what he had to say after his win:

"Today was again a hard day. Ineos did a really hard race with a hard tempo on all the climbs, but our team did a great job again, so I was able to just finish it

[On the Dauphine] "Every race is nice to do after this lockdown, so I'm also looking forward to another one.

"My main ambition for the Tour de France is to put myself on as high a level as possible, and to try to grow together with the team and do as good a job as we can. That's the main goal."

Quintana making it into the top 3 overall is another sign that he's approaching his best. The Colombian looked in fine form before coronavirus shut everything down. That training crash set him back over the summer but he is finding his feet again. Like many of the Tour de France contenders, he will be heading to the Criterium du Dauphine next Wednesday. The Dauphine starting on a Wednesday in August is another of the strange things we have to get used to right now. 

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Remember, we've still got action at the Tour de Pologne and the Czech Tour today. We go from feast to famine tomorrow with two days without racing. The Dauphine then starts on Wednesday and there's Gran Piemonte ahead of Il Lombardia at the weekend. We've only just had Milan-San Remo and Lombardia is already around the corner. This truncated season is relentless. 

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Jumbo-Visma won the team competition at the Tour de l'Ain

Jumbo-Visma won the team competition at the Tour de l'Ain (Image credit: Jumbo-Visma)

With just 20 days left until the start of the Tour de France, Procycling's Tour preview is available for purchase. You can find details of how to subscribe to the magazine and get your copy here (opens in new tab). You can thank me later. 

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Roglic wins stage 3 of the Tour de l'Ain and the overall classifiction

Roglic wins stage 3 of the Tour de l'Ain and the overall classifiction (Image credit: Bettini)

We have a full report and plenty of pictures from today's dramatic stage. You can find it all here (opens in new tab)

That is it from live coverage today. The next live coverage we will have will be the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday. 

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