Stage 3 of the 2017 Tour de France was another long one: 212.5km crossing three countries (Belgium, Luxembourg and finally France), via the Ardennes and F1’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The rather hilly profile with a final 1.6km climb was perfect for the sprinters with a penchant for short inclines. Peter Sagan stormed to an unbelievable finish, sprinting to victory after unwittingly unclipping and re-clipping mid-sprint. Nathan Brown grabs enough points for the polka dots. Marcel Kittel keeps green, the maillot jaune still graces the shoulders of Geraint Thomas but Pierre Latour dethrones Stefan Küng in the best young rider competition.
Riders of the Race
Peter Sagan grabbed the stage win with so much panache, the rest of the riders might just give up and go home. His Bora-Hansgrohe team were positioned at the front of the peloton while protecting the Slovakian maverick from the wind most of the day. Never further down than 30th position, Sagan seized his opportunity after Richie Porte attacked in the last few hundred metres of the twisty final climb. Once the Australian was caught, Sagan went for a long sprint.
However, as he ignited extra watts, his right cleat came off the pedal – just as Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) accelerated. All seemed lost for Sagan, yet he reclipped in mid-flight as if it was nothing out of the ordinary, surged again and was never caught, although Michael Matthews came awfully close. Nobody would ever call for the peloton to slow down for Sagan if he had a mechanical, it simply wouldn’t matter!
Dots and ten Dam
Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac) was summoned for his first Tour de France only a few weeks ago, and if anyone would have told him he’d be wearing the polka dot jersey, he would have probably laughed it off. Now he’s living the dream, taking it off the shoulders of teammate Taylor Phinney. Part of a breakaway of six, he firstly distanced himself by following Nils Politt of Katusha, and then going solo to grab the necessary points to secure the coveted KOM jersey.
Laurens ten Dam was the peloton’s engine today [isn’t he every day? – Ed]. He spent the greater part of the 212km at the front, working tirelessly for Michael Matthews. His role was intergerine, keeping the breakaway at a respectful distance at the front and the pace high enough to keep rivals working hard at the back.
Jokes aplenty on a quiet stage
Former sprinter, now commentator Robbie McEwen couldn’t help the pun…we forgive him.
And the Froome/Thomas role reversal keeps on giving:
Top 5 stage
1 Peter Sagan (Bora – Hansgrohe) 05:07:19
2 Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) same time
3 Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors) s/t
4 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) s/t
5 Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale Drapac) +0:02
Top 5 GC
1 Geraint Thomas (Sky) 10:00:31
2 Chris Froome (Sky) +0:12
3 Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) same time
4 Peter Sagan (Bora – Hansgrohe) +13
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimensuion Data) +16
All the jerseys
Leader: Geraint Thomas (Sky)
Points: Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors)
KOM: Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac)
Best Young Rider: Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale)
Team Classification: Sky
Most Aggressive Rider: Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie)
Header image: ©GETTY/ Corbis Sport /LB