The top 20 of stage three is like a roll call of the best sprinters in the Tour de France. In the frantic rush to the line, Jasper Philipsen powered into the lead while drifting to the right-hand side of a sweeping turn… it hindered Wout van Aert and prompted a considerable review by the race jury, but the Alpecin-Deceuninck sprinter got the spoils on the TDF’s arrival in France.

– Photos by Stefano Sirotti

Jasper Philipsen gets his third stage win in the TDF.

Amongst the first 20 in stage three were 11 riders who have previously won at least one stage of the Tour de France. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) added a third TDF stage victory to his CV with a well-timed powerful sprint that was fast enough to hold off a late challenge by Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny).

The 25-year-old Belgian frustrated compatriot Wout van Aert by closing the gap between him and the barricades in the dying metres and this prompted a significant delay as the race jury examined the footage for over 20 minutes. Ultimately, Philipsen was declared the winner and the rest of the sprint entourage was left to soak up the spoils.

The celebrations stalled for quite some time after the finish of stage three, with the race jury deliberating for over 20 minutes before declaring Philipsen the winner.

The winner of stage one, Adam Yates remains in the lead of the general classification with an advantage of six seconds over UAE team-mate Tadej Pogacar, with Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) holding down third place, also at 0:06.

The revelation of the opening weekend, Victor Lafay (Cofidis), holds down fourth place at 0:12 but he wasn’t in the hunt for the stage win on Monday, finishing 62nd in Bayonne, the first finish this year in France. The Frenchman retains the lead in the points classification with 80 points, after he collected 15pts for third place at the intermediate sprint.

Philipsen, the winner of the final stage of last year’s Tour in Paris, also has 80 points but Lafay continues to wear the green jersey based on a countback of stage placings in the opening three days.


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Cavendish, in the hunt for 35th stage win

The complete tally of TDF stage wins from the 11 former winners in the top 20 is 76: Philipsen 3, Ewan 5, Jakobsen 1, van Aert 9, Cavendish 34, Groenewegen 5, Pedersen 1, Kristoff 4, Teunissen 1, Sagan 12, and Houle 1.

It was fast or faster on the approach to the line and thankfully the peloton managed to negotiate a series of roundabouts in the closing kilometres without any major incident.

While the sprint for the win prompted some controversy, with the jury being sure to consider every angle – and, one would expect, also the slight curve in the road that essentially saw Philipsen take the shortest possible line to the finish – what isn’t in doubt is the strength of Alpecin-Deceuninck’s lead-out crew.

Mathieu van der Poel didn’t seem quite himself on the punishing terrain of the opening weekend, finishing stages one and two in 37th and 63rd place, respectively. Still, the Dutchman had a different role to play when the Tour arrived on French soil on Monday. And his emphatic final turn of pace delivered Philipsen in prime position.

Although largely out of picture from the helicopter shots, Cavendish rounded out the top six in Bayonne. It’s not the win he so craves in his farewell to the Tour but the result – and the speed he achieved at the end of the 193.5km third stage – should give him confidence that he still has what it takes to challenge for victory.

The 35th stage win remains elusive for now but Cavendish will surely be pleased that he has survived the opening stanza in Spain without any injuries. Tomorrow’s fourth stage is again ranked as ‘flat’, with the route sending riders from Dax to Nogaro to the east before the first rendezvous with the mountains on Wednesday.

Mark Cavendish before the start of stage three.

Gallery from stage three: from Spain to France

Below is a collection of photos by Stefano Sirotti from the third stage of the 110th Tour de France. The overall favourites had their chance to play for the win while the race was in the Basque Country on the opening weekend but the sprinters created the spectacle in Bayonne.

For Australian fans, the third place for Ewan is a promising sign that he has the kind of form to challenge for another stage win after a few seasons of misfortune. In 2021 he crashed out of the Tour in the final of stage three, and last year he struggled through to Paris as the Lanterne Rouge, finishing last on GC in his fourth appearance.

In 2022, Ewan managed only two top-10 results in the TDF: ninth on the first Sunday (in Søndeberg, Denmark) and eighth on the final Sunday in Paris.

He had to do his sprint in Bayonne without his usual lead-out train, as Jasper de Buyst limped through to the finish yesterday riding much of the stage at the rear of the peloton. Heavily bandaged after his fall in stage two, the Belgian has tendon damage on his left wrist which limits his ability to hold the handlebars and he was in survival mode yesterday (eventually finishing the stage in 165th place in a group that was 2:02 behind Philipsen and co).

“Almost every top sprinter is present,” said Ewan in the team release after the stage, “so it was an enormous battle for the best positions.

“Of course we missed Jasper at the very end but we had to change plans today and did well.

“It was a hectic sprint but I felt really good. I was maybe a little too far back when I started my sprint but we have to take the positives from today. With this form, I feel there will be some nice things to come.”

Mads Pedersen has won stages in the three previous Grand Tours – ie. one in the TDF of 2022, three in the Vuelta a España last September (plus the points classification jersey), and one in the Giro d’Italia in May). He was ninth in stage three overnight.

Within sight of the finish line Philipsen holds a slender advantage over Phil Bauhaus and Caleb Ewan… meanwhile, Wout van Aert has stopped his sprint after being boxed in on the right-hand side of the road.

Neilson Powless remains in the lead of the climbing classification ahead of stage four, which features only one cat-4 rise – not enough for anyone to overtake the American in the race for the polka-dot jersey.

The defending TDF champion Jonas Vingegaard and his French Jumbo-Visma team-mate Christophe Laporte upon arrival in Bayonne…


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