GC winners and losers as Merlier escapes crashes unscathed

What started out as a straightforward sprint stage spiralled out of control after several crashes allowed Tim Merlier to capitalise and claim his first-ever stage win.

Merlier’s triumph, brought about by a brilliant lead-out from his Alpecin-Fenix teammates, only added to the ever-changing general classification picture.



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Richard Carapaz of Ineos-Grenadiers was perhaps the stage’s best-performing GC rider, having avoided the crashes to lose no time on yellow jersey holder Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).

The Ecuadorian also kept pace with second-ranked Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck Quick-Step), while Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) recovered from the penultimate crash to sit a further eight seconds back overall.

Last year’s runner-up Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was not as fortunate, however, after being caught in the pile-up and falling 1’35” adrift of the yellow jersey.

Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team) also suffered setbacks, while injuries to Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) and Caleb Ewan (Team Lotto-Soudal) forced the Australian duo to abandon the race.



Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers), 3rd overall, 31 seconds behind

“We knew the last 18km were small roads and twisty. We were ready for it,” team sport director Gabriel Rasch said.

“I think the guys did a super job like nobody else can do for Carapaz. He also took risks there in the final.”

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), 6th overall, 39 seconds behind

“It wasn’t a nice day out there; we saw too many crashes again and it was really hectic,” Pogacar said post-race, as quoted by Cyclingnews.

“The roads were narrow and potholed, it was really chaotic… I heard some of my rivals crashed and lost time, but it’s not what we want to see.”

Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers), 18th overall, 1’07” behind

“G went down and dislocated his shoulder,” team sport director Gabriel Rasch said.

“The race doctor put it directly back in but obviously he was in a lot of pain. He could go back on his bike and in the end, he finished off the stage.

“Hats off to him for getting through it.”

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), 20th overall, 1’35” behind

“Luckily we saw that everything is still in one piece and nothing is broken but I have scars all around my body,” Roglic said after needing an x-ray.

“It was not the best day for us but we go on. We can still continue.”

Richie Porte (Ineos-Grenadiers), 41st overall, 3'34" behind



Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team), 42nd overall, 3’43” behind

“These finishes are more Gymkhana-like than a Tour de France one, but it is what it is,” teammate Ivan Garcia said.

“You can’t change much about these roads, and the stress is always like this.”

The Tour de France continues tonight with Stage 4 from Redon to Fougeres and you can catch all the action LIVE on SBS and SBS On Demand from 9:30pm (AEST), with the SKODA Tour Tracker App starting from 9:15pm (AEST).


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3 min read
Published 29 June 2021 at 12:02pm
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS