Belgium fast man Tim Merlier and Alpecin-Fenix survive Carnage to win Stage 3 Sprint
Carapaz survives the carnage to take back time as several GC contenders lose time in "Gladatorial Spectacle" with riders crashing out or suffering injuries
Alpecin-Fenix will be counting their luck tonight as Belgian's fastest man Tim Merlier finally won a stage sprint with the help of team mates and race leader Mathieu van der Poel.
The team managed to stay upright and lead him out for the stage win.
But behind it was carnage.
Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan went elbow to elbow which saw Ewan crash heavily and wipe out Sagan. Reports are Ewan is out of the race with a broken collar bone. Sagan got back up and limped across the finish line.
Also counting his blessings will be Ineos Grenadiers' Richard Carapaz who took back time, he was the only GC rider who finished in the front group of 17 riders.
Behind Enric Mas, Nario Quintana, Wilco Kelderman, Jacob Fuglsang, and Pierre Latour finished 14 seconds further back.
With Pogacar, a battered and bruised Geraint Thomas, Mollema, Davide Gaudu finishing in the main bunch 26 seconds behind.
Geraint Thomas crashed earlier in the stage and dislocated his shoulder, doctors popped his shoulder back in and he spent most of the race getting paced back up to the peloton with Ineos teammates. Jack Haig and Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma) who crashed with Thomas didn't get back on and abandoned the race. Thomas only lost 1m 7s at the end of the stage.
On the narrowing roads Mark Cavendish was involved in a crash that took down Gaudu, Madouas and Lopez down with 12km to go.
Roglic and team Jumbo Visma were pretty much forced off the narrow roads with 11km to go and crashed badly, having to team time trial behind the race losing 1m 20s down, with Lopez latching on to the Jumbo Visma time trial train.
With 5 km to go a crazy pinch point with sharp bends caused the penultimate crash, one rider Jack Haig was seen lying in the road and not getting back up. He suffered a fractured left collarbone and concussion. He is conscious and okay and scans showed no head trauma. He will remain in hospital overnight for observation.
VIDEO: 2021 Tour de France Stage 3 Highlights
2021 Tour de France Stage 3 Top 10
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix, in 4-01-28
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic
4. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
7. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Max Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash
2021 Tour de France GC after Stage 3
1 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 12:58:53
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:08
3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:31
4 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:38
6 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:39
7 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:40
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
9 Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:45
10 Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:00:52
Other Important GC Contenders after Stage 3
15. Uran @ 52s
18. Geraint Thomas @ 1m 7s
20. Primoz Roglic @ 1m 35s
42. Lopez @ 3m 43s