Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe solo's to Yellow Jersey Stage 3 Win
The No1 ranked rider in the world brought the Yellow Jersey home to French soil, after a brutal attack on the final climb of the Cote de Mont Bernon before soloing into Epernay!
Stage 3 started off seadately as a five riders got into the breakaway; Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis), Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert), Anthony Delaplace (Arkea-Samsic) and Paul Ourselin (Total Direct Energie) and built up a lead of over 3 minutes with 100 kms to go.
The stage got lumpy with four climbs in the final 40 kms.
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) went solo on the first, the Côte de Nanteuil-la-Forêt while Rossetto, Offredo, Delaplace, and Ourselin crested the climb one minute in arrears.
The last 30 kms included three category three climbs of the; Cote d'Hautevilliers, the Cote de Champillion and the Cote de Mont Bernon.
Wellens crested the Cote d'Hautevilliers to take the Polka Dot Jersey from Greg van Avermaet.
Wellens pushed on, holding a 1 minute advantage as he reached the Cote de Champillion with 20 kms to go.
Behind Quickstep turned up the heat, and started to chase. Meanwhile Wellens hit the final climb, the Côte de Nanteuil-la-Forêt with 50 seconds.
The peloton started to fracture as the pace started to crack riders including Ilnur Zackarin and the yellow jersey wearer Teunissen, who was forced to chase.
QuickStep launched Alaphilippe off the front of the bunch, who opened up an blazing 40 sec lead, behind Landa, Woods got a gap on the chasing peloton.
With 6 kms to go, Alaphilippe had 42 seconds lead which he hung onto all the way into Epernay up the final steep climb, much to the delight of the huge French crowds!
Alaphilippe, struggling to catch his breath said to the press "I’m speechless. I don’t realize what’s happening to me. I knew this stage suited me. I managed to avoid any pitfalls and crashes. I felt good so I accelerated in the Mutigny climb but I didn’t think I’d go alone. I gave everything. I heard I was 30 or 40’ seconds ahead. It’s difficult to meet the expectations of being the favourite but I made it. I’m delighted."
Tomorrow's stage 4 is one of the longest, 215 kms from Reims to Nancy which could see a bold breakaway or likely bunch sprint.
VIDEO: 2019 Tour de France Stage 3 Highlights
2019 Tour de France Stage 3 Top 10
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:40:29
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 4:40:55
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 4:40:55
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team 4:40:55
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:40:55
6 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott 4:40:55
7 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 4:40:55
8 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert 4:40:55
9 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:40:55
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 4:40:55
2019 Tour de France GC after Stage 3
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 9:32:19
2 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 9:32:39
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 9:32:44
4 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 9:32:44
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 9:32:59
6 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 9:32:59
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos 9:33:04
8 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 9:33:05
9 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team 9:33:10
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 9:33:10