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Tour de France 2019: Alaphilippe reigns supreme with Stage 3 win and yellow jersey

Joe Robinson
8 Jul 2019

Frenchman makes audacious 15km solo attack stick to take stage and race win

Julian Alaphilippe took an impressive solo victory and the race lead on Stage 3 of the Tour de France after a brave attack on the penultimate climb of the day.

The Deceuninck-Quickstep man launched an audacious attack on the Cote de Mutigny to gap his rivals before riding the final 15km of the stage solo in a dominant show of force which guided him into the yellow jersey.

The Frenchman eventually finished 26 seconds ahead of Team Sunweb's Michael Matthews who beat Jasper Stuyven in the bunch sprint to complete the podium.

Jumbo-Visma's Mike Teunissen rolled across the line five minutes behind Alaphilippe, ending his stint in the race lead.

To France, with love

After two days racing around Brussels to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx's first yellow jersey, the Tour left Belgium with a 215km from Binche to Epernay and the race's first day to feature a hilly test.

The final 40km featured four categorised climbs and an uphill finish of 8% for 500m, enough to trouble the race's sprinters and favour the strong puncheurs, especially considering the 1km long climb with 4km left to race.

Jumbo-Visma's Mike Teunissen leads the General Classification following his opening day exploits while the remaining top 5 were occupied by Teunissen's teammates after their team time trial victory from yesterday.

The rolling finale was too good an opportunity for too many in the peloton, meaning that no breakaway was likely to forge a big enough gap to pull of a surprise win.

Regardless, a break of five formed including Anthony Delaplace (Arkea-Samsic), Stephan Rossetto (Cofidis), Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie), Yohann Ofredo (Wanty-Gobert) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal).

Thanks to a tailwind, the pace was high as the break forged a gap of over 5 minutes early into the stage. However, it did not last long as Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quickstep wore away at the gap.

By the 50km remaining marker, the peloton had reeled in the leading five to a gap of only two minutes. This gap was too small for Wellens, who decided to up sticks from the break and go ahead alone.

 

The peloton increased their pace to catch Wellens, who continued a minute gap into the final 25km, which was enough to put yellow jersey wearer Teunissen in trouble and see him fade at the rear of the main group.

The pace grew as the race hit the Cote de Mutigny and headed for the bonus seconds available at the summit of the climb.

Despite the frantic speed, Julian Alaphilippe had enough to jump ahead alone. He failed to catch Wellens but crossed the line second, stealing five bonus seconds on GC.

He caught Wellens just over the peak, overtaking the Belgian, building a 38 second over a smaller group containing Mikel Landa and Michael Woods, who were slightly ahead of the Jumbo-Visma-led peloton. 

They were caught, but Alaphilippe was not. He rode into the Epernay for his third career Tour stage win and his first yellow jersey.