To follow up wins for Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel, Tim Merlier stormed to victory on stage three with a wreckage in behind. He left Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan on the concrete and in some pain, joining the likes of Geraint Thomas, Primoz Roglic and Arnaud Demare among the most high-profile names to be caught up in serious crashes on an unbelievable afternoon from Lorient to Pontivy.
Ewan was unable to finish the stage and abandoned following his horror crash inside the final 100 metres, which also brought down Sagan. Thomas was the first to go down and was forced to put his dislocated shoulder back in before getting back into the peloton. He ended up negotiating the stage well and finished with Pogacar’s group, less than 30 seconds down on stage winner Tim Merlier.
But the same could not be said for last year’s runner-up Roglic who came across the line nearly one minute behind Pogacar and Thomas. He was also clearly suffering with some bad injuries as he finished with a lot less of his jersey and shorts. On the face of it, stage four appears to be a routine one. But you could have said exactly the same about Monday’s route and that turned out to be one of the most dramatic day’s racing in recent memory. It is marked down as another one for the sprinters and is probably a slightly easier finale than Monday when any little rise in the road was causing havoc among those at the front of the main bunch. The peloton will be hoping for a more relaxed stage. But as we’ve seen already, truly anything can happen.
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