Mark Cavendish continued his excellent start to the Tour de France on stage 3, recording his second win in three days. It initially looked like the Manx Missile had misfired in the bunch sprint, but his late surge proved sufficiently powerful to snatch glory from Andre Greipel on the line in Angers. It was otherwise an extremely quiet day, with all of the general classification riders crossing the line safely in the bunch.
Rider of the RaceEmbed from Getty Images
Breakaways in the first week of the Tour de France are always futile, though today’s was about as hopeless as it’s possible to get. That’s because for the majority of the racing, it contained just one man: Brittany’s Armindo Fonseca (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), who seized the final opportunity to make his family proud as the race rolled out of his home region and into the Pays de la Loire. That he certainly did, sticking it out alone in an epic Sisyphean struggle, earning the rightful title of our Rider of the Race as a result. He was joined late in the day by Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) and the duo gave it as good a go as they could – the newcomer taking up the lion’s share of the pulling in honour of his brave companion – though that couldn’t stop them being swept up comfortably before the line.
Pipped to the post
Fonseca’s solo effort was admirable, but it certainly wasn’t exciting. However, the sprint finish more than made up for the day’s monotony, serving up as close a finish as we’ve seen at the Tour in a long time. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) found himself in a perfect position on the wheel of Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), though initially appeared to lack the power to catch the German once he’d launched his sprint. However, the Gorilla faded as the line grew nearer, allowing Cav to lunge across the line and snatch victory from the jaws of an agonising defeat. Greipel raised his arm in a victory salute, only to see Cav freewheel past him and into the assembled press. This is a battle that could well run and run.
1 Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) 5:59:54
2 Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) s/t
3 Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) s/t
4 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Team) s/t
5 Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) s/t
GC top 5
1 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 14:34:36
2 Julien Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) +0:08
3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:10
4 Chris Froome (Team Sky) +0:14
5 Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) s/t
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)
Points jersey: Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)
KOM jersey: Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
Best Young Rider: Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep)
Full race review: CyclingNews
Header image: © Dimension Data/Twitter