08/07/19 - 11:20
Binche - Épernay
Tour de France • Stage3

Binche - Épernay

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Mike Teunissen crosses the line almost five minutes down after his two-day stint in yellow.


Joy for Alaphilippe who embraces his teammates and staff. That's the 29th win of his career and his 11th of the season.


Confirmation that it's Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) who takes second ahead of Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). Greg van Avermaet (CCC Team) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) complete the top five.


Behind it's van Avaemaet who leads the chase... and it's Matthews who takes second eventually, around 20 seconds down, and so Alaphilippe will be in yellow.


Victory for Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck-QuickStep!


Onto the ramp goes out lone leader... this is his favourite terrain...


He looks over his shoulders ahead of the final ramp and he'll know he has the gap.


Under the flamme rouge goes the man who should be in yellow tonight.


On to the cobbles goes Alaphilippe on a straight slightly uphill section.


Alaphilippe delights the French crowds as he rides into town. Michael Kwiatkowski is leading the chase.


The lead is back to 35 seconds and so it's looking good for our lone leader, especially with Ineos leading the chase and not wanting to take any risks.


Over the top goes Alaphilippe. He's descending like a demon into Epernay - the first finish here since 1963. He's hugging the top tube at 70km/h.


It's no done deal. Peter Sagan is right there on the front and ready to pounce should Alaphilippe be caught.


These climbs are like Liege-Bastogne-Liege - narrow and steep. Alaphilippe's lead is down to 20 seconds on this uncategorised climb of the Cote de Mont Bernon. It's no done deal.


It's Team Ineos who are on the front with the likes of Poels and Van Baarle working for Bernal and Thomas.


Alaphilippe is gritting his teeth in determination. It's not in the bag yet because the finish is very steep and if people attack behind he may lose the stage or hold on, but not pick up the yellow... But the safe money is on him taking both.


Those four chasers are back with the pack now - the pack is only about 60-strong. LouLou still has 40 seconds on them and 1'50" on Teunissen, the outgoing yellow jersey.


Teunissen has the peloton in sight but he still trails them by 30 seconds and the lone leader by 1'25".


Alaphilippe has 40 seconds now. That quartet is about five seconds clear of the pack.


Teunissen is riding with Julian Simon of Cofidis off the back of the pack.


We have a four-man chase group of Landa, Schachmann, Woods and Lutsenko. Alaphilippe has 35 seconds on the peloton and so it's looking good for the stage win and yellow jersey.


Alaphilippe made his attack from right under the noses of Ineos duo Thomas and Bernal there. He's 31 seconds down on GC but Teunissen has been dropped. So the reference is to Van Aert, Kruijswijk and Bennett, who are 21 seconds ahead. Win the stage and that's 10 seconds and so he'll only need another 11.


ALAPHILIPPE ATTACKS! The Frenchman zips clear of the peloton and almost catches Wellens ahead of the summit. It's the Belgian who takes the max 2pts over the top ahead of the Frenchman, but Wellens then sits up with his arm up - he appears to have a mechanical. The polka dot jersey is his, though.


Wout Van Aert is looking very strong and a safe bet for yellow today. Wellens is almost caught now as the battle commences behind. Zakarin has been dropped.


Wellens is onto the Cat.3 Cote de Mutigny (900m at 12.2km). He has 55 seconds.


There's a bonus sprint at the top of the next climb too, with time bonuses available.


Wiggo on the final categorised climb, which is coming up...


Wellens is dying a thousand deaths out there but he still has 1'10" over the pack.


Teunissen is still holding on - but when the gaps appear on the final climb and that ramped finish, he will surely lose touch with the leaders.


Omar Fraile back to the front now ahead of the summit - the Spaniard is clearly ip for the polka dot jersey this year. But he misses out on the remaining point, which is taken by Xandro Meurisse, who adds to his 2pt tally from Saturday. But it was Wellens who took another 2pts over the top so he should be guaranteed the polka dot jersey now.


Mike Teunissen, the yellow jersey, is right on the back of the peloton now. It looks like Jumbo-Visma will hope to get Wout Van Aert into yellow today because the Dutchman won't hold on...


Wellens is onto the Cat.3 Cote de Champillon (1.8km at 6.6%). His lead is down to 1'15".


So with Caleb Ewan done for, Tim Wellens remains the Plan A for Lotto Soudal. He has 1'20" still ahead of the next climb. They also have Tiesj Benoot, too.


Some big names coming to the front here - and it looks like Quintana and Fraile sprinted for the remaining 1pts for second place over the summit! Many sprinters off the back - including Ewan and Greipel.


Over the top goes Wellens who now has 3pts in the KOM competition - so he's ahead of Messrs Van Avermaet and Meurisse. His gap is 1'28".


Fist pumps for the four French chasers who have been caught by the pack just ahead of the climb. And QuickStep have now come to the front en masse. Tony Martin, on the other hand, is off the back after his hard work.


Wellens is onto the Cat.3 Cote d'Hautvillers (0.9km at 10.5%). Secure the 2pts over the top and he'll be in polka dots.


There's also the occasional blustery wind out there, too.


The peloton is all strung out now and some splits will be happening soon for many are really holding on for grim life. Wellens has just over two minutes on the pack with the four men in between about to be caught.


Wellens goes over the top to pocket the 1pt with his lead intact. This was a shrewd move by the Belgian, who is almost guaranteed the polka dot jersey now. And if things don't work out for him in the stage, Lotto Soudal have Caleb Ewan as a potential - provided the pocket-rocket Australian can keep up over these climbs.


Lone leader Wellens has 45 seconds on the four chasers and 2'30" on the pack.


We're onto the Cat.4 Cote de Nanteuil-la-Foret (1.1km at 6.8%).


Bardet is almost back in contention now with the peloton after his scare. Wellens, meanwhile, has 2'33" over the pack. They're on the descent ahead of the first categorised climb.


Puncture, too, for Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha, who doesn't have any teammates with him.


Puncture for Romain Bardet! The Frenchman swaps a wheel with teammate Oliver Naesen but that's a blow for Bardet ahead of the climbs.


Tim Wellens decides to ditch his French breakaway companions and kicks clear on the climb ahead of the first categorised climb. The Belgian will be looking to pocket enough points to take the polka dot jersey before passing the reins over to his Lotto teammate Caleb Ewan to contest the win.


The gap is back up to 2'20" for the five leaders ahead of those climbs. Pinot is back with the peloton as the roads start to get lumpy.


Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) is currently battling back on with a teammate after flatting ahead of the first climb. That's not the best timing from the Frenchman, who will have his work cut out.


With 7 KOM points up for grabs, we could see a new rider in the polka dot jersey tonight. As things stand, Greg van Avermaet and Xandero Meurisse both have 2pts in the standings, with the former Belgian the man in the jersey.


There's another compression in the peloton as riders try to move up towards the front and that causes some riders to leave the road and come to a standstill on the grass verge. Those climbs are coming up and the gap of the five leaders is down to 1'40".


Michael Matthews must have got held up by that pinch-point and crash because he's off the back with a Sunweb teammate and gesticulating angrily at some of the cars. The Australian will be one of the favourites for today's finale.


CRASH: But it's no biggie... The peloton concertinas up at a pinch-point and, with the pace slow and the pack all bunched up, there's a touch of wheels and a few riders come down. It's Paddy Bevin of CCC Team who hits the deck gently, while one of his teammates tangles his wheels with the handlebars of a Dimension Data rider.


The yellow jersey Mike Teunissen is back with the pack now after dropping back to speak to his Jumbo-Visma DS. They're approaching Reims ahead of the rolling roads which define today's stage.


We may have left Belgium but there are still people on the side of the road paying homage to the Cannibal. As the peloton enters Burgundy, a man holds a sign saying 'Merci Eddy'. It's still Asgreen on the front with the gap now at 2'05"


Meanwhile, Wiggo continues to enjoy his stint on the back of a motorbike...


The peloton is approaching the food zone with a deficit of 3'15". Still Tony Martin is tapping out tempo on the front. Such a machine.


The entire Jumbo-Visma team of the yellow and white jerseys are on the front of the pack now, leading the chase. There's still one rider from QuickStep - probably Asgreen - and the gap is 3'20". It's very agricultural now - after all those chateaux at the start of the stage, it's just vast rolling fields of crops now.


Confirmation of the intermediate sprint points.


After that increase in tempo ahead of the sprint, the break's lead has come down to 3'45". A reminder of the five leaders: Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Paul Ourselin (Total-Direct Energie) and Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic).


Daniel Oss leads out Peter Sagan as the sprint approaches. Michael Morkov then darts clear to lead out Elia Viviani, and it's the Italian who takes the 10 points for sixth place ahead of Sagan and Sonny Colbrelli. But that means Sagan, who is wearing green now because Teunissen is in yellow, is now the outright leader of the points classification, adding 9pts to his tally of 50pts. Viviani is up to 18pts.


The intermediate sprint is won by Grand Tour debutant Paul Ourselin of Total-Direct Energie. Offredo put up a bit of resistance but it was quite a sedate affair.


We have the sprint coming up in five kilometres.


The Norwegian national champion Amund Grondahl Jansen has come to the front to help out Jumbo teammate Tony Martin. With the help of QuickStep's Asgreen, they have brought the gap down to 4'30". An average speed of almost 47km/h today, which is pretty zippy.


Deceuninck-QuickStep have sent Kasper Asgreen onto the front now to help control the tempo and set things up for their puncheur Julian Alaphilippe.


The peloton has just ridden past a donkey. Their deficit is 6'17". Tony Martin, the main engine behind Jumbo-Visma's win yesterday, is still on the front. Behind, we have Astana's Magnus Cort, Alexey Lutsenko and Jakob Fuglsang, who has a bandage on his right elbow after that nasty spill on Saturday's opening stage.


We're hitting some rolling roads now although the proper climbs don't come for another 70-odd kilometres. The gap is pushing six minutes for the five leaders. The next moment of interest should come at the intermediate sprint at Dizy-le-Gros in about 20 clicks.


The gap is 5'28". The calm before the storm. Teunissen and Van Aert are shooting the breeze on the back of the peloton.


The gap continues to grow for these five escapees who have broken through the five-minute barrier. Tony Martin still fronts the peloton ahead of the entire Astana and Ineos trains. It's all strung out in the pack.


Perhaps Tim Wellens' banana is a nod to the virtual yellow jersey which he has on his broad shoulders? The Belgian is best-placed of these five escapees on GC, trailing Mike Teunissen by 1'09".


The advantage of the break is up to four minutes now. Ourselin is eating something - really masticating as if it's an extremely cloying snack - but Wellens has that un-aero 'nana still tucked tantalisingly into his jersey pocket, a yellow baton of juicy goodness.


Romain Bardet on the back of the pack now with some teammates. He's one second further back on GC than Porte after his Ag2R-La Mondiale team could only set the 19th best time yesterday, worsened only by Direct Energie, Arkea-Samsic and Wanty-Gobert.


A technical glitch for Richie Porte, who needs to dorp back to his Trek-Segafredo car to change his radio. The Australian is already 1'28" down on GC - that's 1'08" adrift of former teammate Geraint Thomas, the defending champion - after yesterday's TTT. Porte crashed out in stage 9 of the last two editions of the race - can he make it into the second week for the first time in three years?


Tim Wellens - the only Belgian in a break of Frenchmen - is riding with a banana in his back pocket. That's how he rolls.


The race goes pretty much due-south today as it heads to the capital of champagne, Epernay. Big Tony Martin is on the front of the pack for Jumbo-Visma and followed by the a cluster of Astana riders. Their leader Jakob Fuglsang hit the deck hard on Saturday but the team put in a good showing in yesterday's TTT. The Dane will find out where he is on Thursday's summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles. The gap is 3'05".


The escapees are combining well to build up a lead of 2'30" over the pack.


The Jumbo-Visma team car videos are really good value...



The gap is up to two minutes for the five leaders now.


The race is leaving Belgium now and entering French soil for the first time. This gives me one final occasion to link to the piece I wrote about Belgian's relationship with the Tour de France - with a focus on the year when the entire Belgian team walked out on the race despite having a man in yellow just days away from Paris...


Offredo is a familiar face for anyone watching the Tour in the past two years - the Frenchman from Wanty often a firm fixture in opening-week breaks; compatriot Rossetto, riding his first Tour, soloed clear in Stage 1 after the initial break was swept up; a double stage winner on the Giro, rangy Belgian Wellens needs no introduction; Frenchman Delaplace is riding his seventh Tour and is still in the hunt for a second pro win following his solitary scalp back in 2011; and finally, youngster Ourselin is riding his first Grand Tour and has never won a race in his career to date.


So, the five escapees are: Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Paul Ourselin (Total-Direct Energie) and Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic).


Now Tim Wellens is driving the pace for Lotto Soudal. He's another option today should a break go clear. He has company in the form of four other riders. Could this be the break? Behind the peloton is flat and unresponsive...


We've had multiple attacks and accelerations but nothing has stuck for now. There's a slight tailwind and the temperature is a pleasant 17 degrees with a bit of sunshine peaking through the clouds.


Accelerations from the outset and it's Thomas De Gendt of Lotto Soudal who comes to the front to restore some order. His team have multiple options today what with Caleb Ewan and Tiesj Benoot possible winners.


They're off! Christian Prudhomme, the Tour director, waves the flag from the sunroof of his trusty Skoda - and the stage is under way.


After two days in Belgium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx's first Tour win back in 1969, it's fitting that today's limited edition yellow jersey has the Cannibal on the front. It's one of 20 individual jerseys that are being doled out on the 100th anniversary of the maillot jaune this year.


The riders have just rolled out of the neutral start in Binche. Here are the jersey classification wearers: Van Avermaet in polka dots, Teunissen in yellow, Sagan in green, Rossetto (I think) who was the most combative on Saturday's opening stage, then Geraint Thomas, the defending champion, and Julian Alaphilippe with his trademark goatee. Van Aert is in white - that may be him right at the back beyond Eddy Merckx.


After just 12km the race passes from Belgium to France ahead of a straight-forward first phase of the race. But then, with around 70km to go, things get really spicy. Indeed, if yesterday was Korma then this is Vindaloo what with four categorised climbs through the champagne vineyards and a double-digit ramp to the line in Epernay.

Stage 3 profile, Tour de France 2019

The first two days in Belgium have all been about Jumbo-Visma who managed to turn things round following Dylan Groenewegen's crash in the finale of Stage 1 thanks to that man Teunissen, the yellow jersey. He also has green while Wout Van Aert - one of the favourites for today - is now in white following the TTT win yesterday. Also, there's the small matter of Steven Kruijswijk taking time on all his GC rivals...


Yesterday, the Jumbo-Visma team of Mike Teunissen obliterated the field in Sunday’s 27.6-kilometre team time trial in Brussels to deny Team Ineos by a massive twenty seconds and extend the Dutchman’s unexpected grip on the yellow jersey. Crossing the line underneath the iconic Atomium monument with five of their eight riders remaining, Jumbo-Visma were led home by Belgian Wout Van Aert who punched the air in celebration with Teunissen in his wake to continue the Dutch team’s scintillating start to the 106th edition of the Tour de France...


Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to live coverage of Stage 3 of the Tour de France - a 215km ride from Binche to Epernay which will take the riders onto French soil for the first time after the grand depart in Brussels and two days in Belgium.