Tour de France: Jasper Philipsen sprints to victory on stage 3

Belgian beats Bauhaus and Ewan but is made to wait amid jury review

Clock17:15, Monday 3rd July 2023
Jasper Philipsen celebrates across the line on stage 3 of the Tour de France

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Jasper Philipsen celebrates across the line on stage 3 of the Tour de France

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) surged to victory on stage 3 of the Tour de France, making use of a Mathieu van der Poel lead-out to draw first blood in the battle of the sprinters.

Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) finished runner-up and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny) took the final spot on the podium, as Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal-QuickStep) found himself boxed in and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) squeezed against the barriers.

That squeeze interrupted Philipsen’s celebrations, as the race officials analysed the footage on suspicion that he had unfairly blocked the line of his opponent. However, after paying visit to the video referee’s truck to make his defence, he emerged with a smile on his face before heading to the podium to soak up his third career stage victory at the Tour.

“It was a bit in doubt, they made it really exciting in the end,” Philipsen said of the jury’s intervention.“It was tense, but it’s the Tour de France; there are no presents to nobody.”

After two hilly days in the Spanish Basque Country, the race reached French soil on Monday with a largely quiet stage that came to the boil with a chaotic run-in. There were a string of roundabouts in the final 6km, and even a U-turn with 2km to go, but the controversy surrounding the result was caused by the softly-snaking S-bend in the final kilometre.

Philipsen opened up in the middle of the road and appeared to sprint in a largely straight line, but the road bent around to the right, which effectively shut the door on Van Aert as he tried to make his way up the inside.

The Belgian sat up and settled for fifth place, as Bauhaus popped up in the right place and produced a storming sprint on his Tour de France debut to hold off an advancing Caleb Ewan on the left.

Jakobsen, whose Soudal-QuickStep team had dominated the run-in before being usurped by Alpecin-Deceuninck in the final kilometre, found himself without daylight, while Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan) came with late speed but started too far back to manage any higher than sixth place.

“I think I can be really happy with our team performance today. We had great lead-out,” said Philipsen, paying tribute to Jonas Rickaert but reserving particular praise for his last-man, the Paris-Roubaix champion Van der Poel. “It’s amazing. If he has the space to go, for sure he has the speed and then you know no other lead-out will pass.”

“It was tricky with the S-bend but I tried to take the shortest line to finish and happy to get to the line.”

There were no significant developments in the general classification, as more than 100 riders arrived together. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) finished safely in that bunch to retain the yellow jersey, with a six-second lead over teammate Tadej Pogačar and twin brother Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla).

In the green jersey standings, Philipsen drew level on points, with stage 2 winner Victor Lafay (Cofidis), who retained the jersey thanks to a clever mid-race attack in advance of the intermediate sprint.

Quiet start but intense finish as Tour hits France

After two punchy stages in the Basque Country, it was time for the Tour to wave good-bye to the Spanish Grand Départ and head onto home soil. Starting out in Amorebieta-Etxano, there were four minor climbs in the first half of the 193.5km route along the Bay of Biscay, before a flatter finale after crossing the border with 60km to go.

There was little interest in the day’s breakaway, with the polka-dot jersey Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) heading out for a second day in a row in a bid to bolster his lead in the mountains classification. He was joined by Laurent Pichon (Arkéa-Samsic) but there were no other takers, and the two of them settled in for a good-humoured two-up escapade.

Powless duly helped himself to the mountains points atop the category-3 Côte de Trabakua (4.1km at 5.4%) and cat-4 Côte de Milloi (2.3km at 4.5%), as the gap to the peloton reached three minutes after 40km of racing.

Soudal-QuickStep, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Jayco-AlUla, and Lidl-Trek all posted representatives to the front of the bunch but the pace was sedate, so much so that stage 2 winner Victor Lafay (Cofidis) was able to spring from the pack and gain a minute. Having moved into the green jersey, he was out to increase his lead in the points classification and duly mopped up behind Pichon and Powless at the intermediate sprint in Deba, where Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) rode a full lead-out to be the first from the peloton.

Powless again helped himself at the category-3 Col d’Itziar (5.1km at 4.6%) and Côte d’Orioko Benta (4.6km at 6.3%), and, with no more ascents on the second half of the parcours, offered Pichon a handshake and apology as he drifted back to the peloton.

Pichon led the race solo into France, urged on by his wife over race radio, but was swallowed up some 37.5km from the finish. A long jostle for position ensued before things really wound-up in the final 10km.

QuickStep were the most prominent outfit, with Yves Lampaert doing a huge turn to take his teammates through the tricky series of roundabouts and then the late U-turn. Kasper Asgreen took over and even peeled clear off the front for a moment, before Alpecin-Deceuninck suddenly got themselves organised with a two-man lead-out - Rickaert and Van der Poel - in front of Philipsen.

As the road narrowed, they dropped him off with 200 metres to go and the in-form sprinter of 2023 made no mistake. His celebrations were temporarily cut short but his victory was eventually deemed good and proper, and he was able to savour his seventh success of the season.

Dan Lloyd's GCN Analysis

Alpecin Deceuninck are the new Soudal-QuickStep

‘The Wolfpack’ is in a transition phase, as they build a team around the Grand Tour ambitions of Remco Evenepoel, the biggest Belgian stage race talent seen in decades. As a team without the seemingly unlimited budget of others, that transition comes at a cost; climbing domestiques don’t come cheap. We’ve already seen consequences in the Classics, where Soudal-QuickStep have been a shadow of their former selves for the last two seasons, and we’re about to see it in the sprints, too.

Boonen, Cavendish, Kittel, Viviani, Bennett and Jakobsen are amongst a long list of sprinters who’ve been prolific in sprints during their tenure at the team. Historically, most don’t win as much if or when they leave. I would not be surprised to see Jakobsen win a stage or two at this Tour de France, but he is strongly rumoured to be moving to pastures new next season. Tim Merlier will remain, but it’s clear that Evenepoel is now THE Wolf of Wolfpack.

Alpecin-Deceuninck, on the other hand, started out as a team that many thought were going to be the Van der Poel show. To a degree, that was true, but every rider in the squad has stepped up, and none more so than Jasper Philipsen. Part of that step up is down to an increasingly formidable lead-out train, plainly evident in the first sprint of the Tour yesterday. Add in two Monument wins back in the spring, including a 1-2 at Paris-Roubaix, and I rest my case - Alpecin-Deceuninck have filled the void that Soudal-QuickStep are leaving behind.

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Bahrain Victorious



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EWAN Caleb

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Team Jayco-AlUla



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