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Ewan sprints to stage three victory

Australia's Caleb Ewan (right) puts his arms up in celebration after beating Ireland's Sam Bennett (left) in a bunch sprint on stage three of the 2020 Tour de France
Caleb Ewan has won stages in all three Grand Tours

Caleb Ewan produced a dazzling sprint finish to win stage three of the Tour de France as Julian Alaphilippe held on to the yellow jersey.

The Australian Lotto Soudal rider timed his sprint perfectly into a strong headwind in Sisteron to squeeze past Peter Sagan and snatch victory from Irishman Sam Bennett.

It is his fourth Tour stage win after three victories on his debut last year.

“The guys did a great job keeping me at the front,” said Ewan.

“This is the biggest race in the world and I’m so happy to get another win and prove last year wasn’t a fluke. I hope to keep coming back and keep winning.”

Ewan displayed excellent bike handling skills to navigate a chaotic finish, and avoid the headwind that penalised his rivals, until the last moment.

The 26-year-old narrowly avoided Sagan’s back wheel and the right-hand side barrier to get onto Bennett’s wheel before he kicked clear with tremendous speed at 50m to go.

“I was a bit too far forward in the final kilometre so I dropped back and gave myself a bit of a rest,” he added.

“Coming from behind is a bit of a risk but I got through past the barrier and had the speed in the end.”

European champion Giacomo Nizzolo finished third, with France’s Hugo Hofstetter taking fourth.

Former three-time world champion Sagan faded to finish fifth but picked up enough points to replace stage one winner Alexander Kristoff in the green points jersey, which the Slovakian is aiming to win for a record-extending eighth time.

It was a high-speed finish after a largely sedate day, with France’s Jerome Cousin spending 110km off the front alone before he was swept up by the peloton with 16km to go.

Cousin had been in a breakaway with compatriots Benoit Cosnefroy and Anthony Perez, who were battling for king of the mountains points.

Perez had taken the virtual lead off Cosnefroy in that classification but was then forced to abandon the race with a broken collarbone after he punctured on a descent and crashed into his Cofidis team car.

Alaphilippe avoided trouble to retain the race lead, with Britain’s Adam Yates still second at four seconds back, while defending champion Egan Bernal has moved up two places to sixth overall.

Stage three result

1. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto Soudal) 5hrs 17mins 42secs

2. Sam Bennett (Ire/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) same time

3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita/NTT Pro)

4. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra/Israel Start-up Nation)

5. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe)

6. Edward Theuns (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

7. Cees Bol (Ned/Team Sunweb)

8. Matteo Trentin (Ita/CCC Team)

9. Bryan Coquard (Fra/B&B Hotels – Vital Concept)

10. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita/Total Direct Energie)

General classification after stage three

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 13hrs 59mins 17secs

2. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +4secs

3. Marc Hirschi (Swi/Team Sunweb) +7secs

4. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +17secs

5. Davide Formolo (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) Same time

6. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers)

7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

8. Sergio Higuita (Col/EF Pro Cycling)

9. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis)

10. Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott)

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