Martin, Roche dig in as Bernal, Pinot steal time on Tour’s first climbs

Posted on: July 8th, 2019
Dan Martin finished with most of the big contenders after the Tour de France hit the first climbs of the 2019 edition back on French soil.

Dan Martin has finished with most of the general classification men on Tour de France stage 3 which saw the first climbs of the race.

The Irishman was in a group of riders that finished some 31 seconds down on the man of the day, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

Nicolas Roche was also in that group of favourites; both riders coming through the first climbing test very well.

French star Alaphilippe attacked with about 15km to go, on the final climab of the day; the Cote de Mutigny.

He manged to keep his effort going all the way to the finish line in Epernay; catching and passing Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) who was the last man standing from the early breakaway.

And that was enough for not only the stage win but also the yellow jersey, much to the delight of the home fans.

Alaphilippe attacks on the final climb of the day
The French star takes the stage victory
Alaphilippe celebrates in yellow

Some 25 seconds after the winner crossed the line, Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb took the sprint for 2nd place on the stage.

The Australian was at the head of an 11-man group, which featured Thibaut Pinot (Groupama) and Egan Bernal; the Team Ineos rider last man in that group.

Next on the road was his team mate and defending champion Geraint Thomas, though he was credited with a time five seconds back on the Matthews-led 11 riders.

It meant Pinot and Bernal stole five seconds on the other favourites, including Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) who finished in 31st position.

He came over the line in the same time as everyone aiming for the general classification except Bernal and Pinot.

Tim Wellens was the last survivor of the breakaway and took the climbers jersey and combativity prize for his efforts
Roche and Matthews discuss the stage; the Irish rider helping the Australian to a strong 2nd place on Tour France stage 3 over 215km

However, the time that duo gained is unlikely to prove decisive over the near three weeks to come.

Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) was also in the same group as Dan Martin, coming home in 44th place.

He is not riding for the overall but he looks in mint condition for this Tour, sporting a super lean physique that suggests he’s very much ready for battle.

Roche now moves up to 19th overall, exactly one minute behind the new yellow jersey. Martin is 28th at 1:38.

Alaphilippe now leads Jumbo Visma’s Wout van Aert by 20 seconds, with Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) 3rd at 25 seconds.

The yellow jersey after the opening two stages, Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), could not live with the pace on the late short and sharp climbs.

He came home some 4:38 down but with two days in yellow and a stage win in the bag, his Tour has already been a huge success.