Stage one’s second place finisher Michael Matthews avoided the crashes on today’s chaotic finale to stage three of the Tour de France but missed his opportunity to sprint, after being caught behind one of the touch downs with just over three kilometres to go.
Despite being in good position with teammate Luka Mezgec, a tight corner caused a massive pile up and effected the outcome of the stage, with many riders caught behind the crash and a significant split occurring.
In the end, 17 riders survived and went on ahead to contest the sprint, with Matthews crossing the line in 18th place, the best of the rest in the second group on the road.
The team’s climbers Lucas Hamilton and Esteban Chaves finished amongst the other main GC contenders, 26seconds behind the stage winner, which Richard Carapaz the only main GC contender to profit from the day, finding himself in the front selection and taking extra time on his contenders. With 18 stages still remaining, it is all still very much to play for.
“I guess the final basically started after the intermediate sprint, quite narrow, twisty roads and I think everybody basically knew about the corner when the crash actually happened. So, it put stress in the peloton with everybody wanting to be further forward into that corner and I was just behind the crash.
Me and Luka were around the top 15 when the crash happened and everyone in front and around us crashed and we just didn’t get back to the front.
That ruined my race because I was stuck in between the front group and the peloton trying to chance across by myself.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director
“It was as predicted a nervous day; the final was as tricky as we expected and some major crashes that has taken out key riders which split the group. Michael was unfortunately caught behind the final crash there so was best of the result.
Again, we lost a little bit of time to some guys but gained sometimes on others, so it has been the story of the first week. You need a little bit of luck but also you have to make it. There’s a long way to go but we are certainly playing the long game. Things will settle down eventually.”
2021 Tour de France – Stage 3:
1. Tim Merlier 4:01:28
2. Jasper Philipsen ST
3. Nacer Bouhanni ST
18. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:14
General Classification after stage 3:
1. Mathieu van der Poel 12:58:53
2. Julian Alaphilippe +0:08
3. Richard Carapaz +0:31
14. Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange) +0:52
Photo courtesy of Getty Images