Trentin takes a top-10 as Adam Yates stays safe on stage threeMon 8 Jul 2019
European champion Matteo Trentin sprinted to sixth place on stage three of the Tour de France as the peloton battled for the minor places behind a solo winner.
Brit Adam Yates rolled home safely in the reduced bunch after a frantic end to the third day of racing with the expected action coming over the four categorised climbs late in the 215-kilometre stage.
There was a clamour to get into the breakaway, with several attempts coming and going as the flag dropped, before five riders eventually edged clear. With the peloton happy with the composition of the break, the bunch knocked off the pace and allowed the escapees to drift up the road.
The five leaders went onto open up a maximum advantage of over six-minutes with Team Jumbo-Visma keeping the time gap in check at the head of the field, while Mitchelton-SCOTT were content to sit safely in the bunch ahead of the climbs to come.
The gap to the breakaway then began to tumble rapidly as the bunch raced towards the intermediate sprint and it fell below two-minutes with 70-kilomteres remaining as the first of the four categorised climbs approached.
With the gap to the break continuing to come down, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) decided to attack his fellow escapees and went solo. But with bonus seconds on offer on the final climb, the peloton were keen to bring the Belgian back before the summit.
Despite the increase in pace, Wellens crested the climb first to take the maximum eight bonus seconds, but he was quickly followed by Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) who had attacked out of the thinning bunch behind.
The Frenchman soon opened up a sizeable gap as the peloton scrambled to organise a chase, but as he raced through the three-kilometres-to-go banner the win looked secured. South African champion Daryl Impey contributed to the chase with Trentin keen to contest the uphill sprint, but the Italian had to settle for sixth as the bunch battled for second behind Alaphilippe.
"It was hard, it was hard because we never really let go, even though we were riding with a tailwind, it was quite a demanding tempo all the time. We were always going hard and when we caught the breakaway just before the climbs, it was obvious then that someone was ready to go."
"I think we managed it pretty good, Adam was there with me, Jack (Haig) and Daryl, and the other guys brought us to the climb, so I think we did pretty good. At the end there we came of the small road in one line and there could have been the possibility to put someone in the red zone and taken a few seconds, but we were attentive, we were there."
"We were always chasing, but maybe we didn’t chase hard from the beginning, but as soon as we hit the downhill it was full gas and Daryl came back and tried to chase also, but Alaphilippe was just stronger."
Matt White (Sports Director):
"It was the perfect course for him (Alaphilippe) because he’s that type of rider and he’s made for those sort of climbs. He was the man to watch, we knew that, every team knew that, but when he went it was a really ballsy move because there was still a lot of flat for him to be reeled in after that."
"When we got onto the flat there, it was quite hard to bring him back. When INEOS went to the front it was not to chase him, that was just for safety and that actually works in reverse for a lot of other teams because it actually slows everyone down."
"Yesterday’s performance wasn’t what we were expecting, I’d have liked to have been maybe 10-seconds higher up, but it wasn’t through a lack of trying. We’ve got a different composition of group this year from last year. We’ve brought more climbers and we’re going to reap the benefits of that in the second half of the race."
Tour de France 2019 Stage 3 Results:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) 4:40:29
2. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) +0:26
3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek - Segafredo) ST
4. Matteo Trebtin (Miitchelton-SCOTT) ST
General Classification After Stage 3:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step)
2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:20
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:25
20. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:01
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.