Philipsen wins stage 3 of Tour de France
Monday’s stage 3 of Tour de France 2023 saw the Tour peloton return to French soil. The stage route took the Tour riders on a 193.5-kilometer coastal journey from Amorebieta-Etxano in the Basque Country to Bayonne in France.
Stage 3 took place in hilly terrain, but the four categorized climbs of categories 3 and 4 were contested in the first half of the stage, which caused many to anticipate a mass sprint finish that would feature sprinters such as Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jayco-Alula), Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal-QuickStep), Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny), and Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious).
The town of Amorebieta-Etxano has approximately 20,000 inhabitants. It is known for the 15th century Church of Santa Maria de Asuncion, for classical and baroque music concerts in churches, and for its international street music competition. Bayonne is known for the Sainte-Marie Cathedral, its Citadel, its street art festival, and Bayonne ham which is marinated in piment d’Espelette that gives the ham its renowned chili flavor. For ham to be called Bayonne, it must be produced without the use of antibiotics, fish oils, and steroids.
Instead of focusing on the first Tour de France stage victory for Team Cofidis since 2008 in yesterday’s stage 2, some cycling analysts, commentators and fans had instead chosen to spend their time discussing if defending Tour de France Champion Jonas Vingegaard should have supported Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout van Aert in yesterday’s sprint finale.
Shortly after the start of stage 3, EF Education-EasyPost’s Neilson Powless and Arkea-Samsic’s Laurent Pichon joined forces to establish the breakaway group of the day. Powless was proudly wearing the polka-dot jersey as leader of the best climber competition, and he was on a mission to gain more points for the classification. Powless was first across the Cote de Trabakua (category 3) and the Cote de Milloi (category 4).
The breakaway duo built a lead of more than three minutes. The main peloton group was enjoying a relaxed start phase of the stage and saving their energy for a sprint finale.
Yesterday’s stage winner Victor Lafay (Cofidis) broke away from the peloton in solo fashion to secure points for the points competition he is currently leading. He crossed the intermediate sprint for the points competition in third place and thereby secured the needed points to preserve the points jersey for tomorrow’s stage.
Meanwhile, the sprinter teams were at the front of the main peloton. They first reeled in Lafay and then proceeded to keep the breakaway duo on a tight leash. Riders from teams such as Alpecin-Deceuninck, Lidl-Trek, and Jayco-Alula were delivering strong performances in support of their sprinters.
Powless secured the points for the best climber classification at the top of the Cote d’Orioko Benta (Category 3) – the final climber classification points of the stage - and then chose to exit the breakaway following the descent. Pichon carried on solo, hoping to be crowned the most competitive rider of the day.
The Tour peloton was now approaching the French border with Powless safely back in the bunch.
Pichon was caught by the chasing peloton with 40 kilometers left of today’s stage 3. The sprinter teams were preparing for a mass sprint finish.
With ten kilometers left of today’s stage the sprinter teams were still setting a very fast pace, trying to position their sprinters optimally for the final sprint towards the finish line – and in order to try to deter any optimists from launching attacks in the final kilometers.
With 5 kilometers left, Uno-X Pro Cycling Team and Arkea-Samsic moved to the front, but the other sprinter teams were eager to move past them. Soudal-QuickStep delivered an impressive performance at positioning their sprinter. Intermarche moved to the front for Grmay.
Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Jasper Philipsen opened his sprint and no other sprinter was able to pass the Belgian. Philipsen won stage 3 ahead of Phil Bauhaus (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny).
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for complete coverage from Tour de France 2023 and visit Wiggle to buy bikes, cycling equipment and apparel. Take advantage of the great sale offers and stock up before inflation increases prices.