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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, July 4, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. - P. J. O'Rourke

Tour de France: 2020

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2020: The Tour During Covid-19, Better Late Than Never is available in both Kindle eBook and Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de France stage three team reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Stage winner Dylan Groenewegen's Team BikeExchange-Jayco sent me this:

Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen returned to the top step of the podium in style at the Tour de France with a stunning and emotional victory on stage three in Denmark for Team BikeExchange-Jayco.

Groenewegen put his hands to his head as he crossed the line, unsure if he'd taken the win, but the emotions soon poured out as his first Tour de France stage win in three years was confirmed.

Dylan Groenewegen wins stage three. Photo: Getty Images

The 29-year-old notched up his fifth career Tour victory with a typically powerful and well-timed dash to the line after superb work from his Team BikeExchange-Jayco teammates in the finale.

It was a relatively straightforward stage for the most part as just one rider headed up the road when the flag dropped, with Dane Chris Juul-Jensen quickly assuming his position at the head of the bunch as the squad laid out their intentions for the day.

There was a brief scare for Groenewegen with 9km to go as he narrowly avoided a pile-up in the bunch, but the Dutchman was quickly able to make it back towards the head of the pack with help from his teammates.

The tricky and winding run to the final kilometre made positioning vital ahead of the last corner and Amund Grøndahl Jansen used all his experience to drag Groenewegen into the mix after impressive work from Luka Mezgec to protect his team leader.

With the main contenders fighting for position in the final 800 metres, Groenewegen stood his ground before diving through a gap as the sprint opened up, with the victory coming down to a bike throw for the line.

Dylan Groenewegen (1st)
"I have to say thanks to my team, and to my family and friends to bring me back to the Tour in a good shape, it’s beautiful! Not physically, but mentally it was a hard time, of course. After all that happened, also with my family, but this is for my wife and my son, it means a lot to me.

"Yesterday I was a little bit angry at myself. Today, we were a long time boxed-in, I was also involved with a crash a bit with 9km to go, but they [the team] brought me back into position, we stayed calm.

"In the end I was on the right side, Amund brought me into a really good position on the left corner, I struggled a little bit in the left corner, but at the finish line it was enough and I can’t still believe it!"

Gerry Ryan (Team Owner)
"They knew they weren’t far away yesterday, and they just stuck to the plan again today. It’s planning, it’s persistence, it’s having the right people in the team. It’s a great team and they deserve it today.

"It’s all about people and putting the right people together, and I’m very fortunate that this is a great organization."

Matt White (Head Sport Director)
" Yesterday didn’t go as we wanted it to, but you’ve got to move on quickly. That’s the secret of achieving anything in life and sport. The boys didn’t flinch at all after yesterday and they gave 100% commitment to Dylan.

"Obviously, we’re really, really happy that Dylan could finish it off and win on the biggest stage in our sport. This means we’ve opened our account at the Tour de France.

"It’s been a big comeback for Dylan, it’s never easy changing teams and he’s worked very, very hard this year and we’ve got a really strong, committed group around him and you saw from the result today how committed they were, and they gave him every opportunity to win and he finished it off very, very well."

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Here's the report from GC leader Wout van Aert's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Wout van Aert has also finished second in the third stage of the Tour de France. The Belgian just came up short in another bunch sprint, which former teammate Dylan Groenewegen won. His second place meant that Van Aert retained the yellow jersey and remained in the points classification lead.

Wout van Aert is taking the yellow jersey to France for stage 4 on Tuesday.

The wearer of the polka dot jersey, Magnus Cort Nielsen, chose to ride in the attack for the day. The peloton didn't worry too much with an attentive Team Jumbo-Visma riding in the front. It caught the brave Dane fifty kilometres from the finish. The sprint preparations then got into full swing, with Cristophe Laporte bringing Van Aert into a good position. It looked good for a long time, but Van Aert lost out in the end.

"Another second place is not so much fun anymore", the Fleming said. "Three times in a row second in the Tour, that must be a record. The lead-out from Christophe was perfect, but I started my sprint a bit too early. I might have won if I had stayed in his slipstream a bit longer. That's a mistake. I immediately asked Dylan if he was sure of his win because he's the one who taught me to put your arms in the air when you're not sure. I am happy that Dylan is back at the highest level."

Van Aert enjoyed the Tour's opening days in the Scandinavian country. "It was a great day on the bike. Denmark showed itself from its best side. Nice to go through such scenes with so many supporters. And of course I am very proud to take the yellow jersey to France. The yellow makes up for these second places, but I disappointed myself a bit today."

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Here’s the report from Fabio Jakobsen’s Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

One day after taking his maiden Tour de France victory, Fabio Jakobsen was again in the mix, on the final stage that the peloton spent in Denmark, which can easily run for the best Grand Départ in the history of the race.

Only one rider rode away from the off, and the peloton allowed him to open a seven-minute maximum advantage before the sprinters’ teams sent their men at the front of the bunch to bring down the gap. Just like Saturday, Mikkel Honoré did an incredible job, spending countless kilometers chasing the leader and helping the field reduce the gap before bringing back the lone attacker with 50 kilometers to go.

You can see Jakobsen in the green kit as the race leaders have just crossed the line. Sirotti photo

The finale was again chaotic, a crash in the last 10 kilometers splitting the field and leaving only some 70-odd riders in the main bunch. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was well represented there and controlled the race until the final corner, where Fabio found himself closed in just as he rounded it out and despite his best efforts couldn’t make up ground and really fight for the win, taking fifth as Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) took the victory in Sønderborg. Despite this, Fabio remains in contention for the green jersey classification, where only 17 points separate him from the leader ahead of the transfer to France.

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Aleksandr Vlasov's Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this stage 3 report:

Also the third stage of the Tour de France was less hectic than expected as the wind didn’t have much influence on the race. M. Cort was the only breakaway rider of the day and only the last 30km one could feel the tension in the bunch again. With about seven kilometers to go there was again a crash, and this time some riders lost crucial seconds in the hunt for the GC.

BORA – hansgrohe did an exceptional job again with especially Nils Politt and Marco Haller escorting Aleksandr Vlasov through the day. Also Danny Van Poppel had another good day and secured again a top ten finish in the bunch sprint in the end.

GC contender Aleksandr Vlasov before the stage start. Sirotti photo

“I had to break slightly in the last corner and lost momentum there. I still found a good wheel again but was already a little too far back and also had to accelerate early. Still, it’s another top ten result and I am happy. Also, the team did a great job again protecting Aleks and that is always priority number one here for us.” – Danny Van Poppel

“In general Denmark was amazing. All those people on the road, I think sometimes it was even difficult to focus on racing. I think we are absolutely on track. Our goal was to stay within 30 seconds to the other GC favorites and avoid any major setback. That worked out really well. I think the roads, road furniture etc. was not as dramatic as some people thought, also the wind was not strong enough to try something crazy. Still some contenders already lost some time and that’s why it is so important to invest in those early stages which we did especially with Nils and Marco who did an amazing job.” – Rolf Aldag, sports director

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