Van Aert paused as I was typing for what appeared to be re-greasing the cleat on the bottom of his boot. He will easily chase after them when they have completed the climb.
Here is a beautiful view of the Atlantic coast that riders pass on today’s podium.
There are still great vibes in the front group as Powless and Pichon share another joke once they reach the bottom of the final categorized climb of the day, the Côte d’Orioko Benta (4.6km at 6.3%). The runners behind should be fine because the pace has been pretty low all day.
Juan Pedro López leads the peloton up the climb behind him with “El Tractor” Tim Declercq alongside him. Slightly contrasting tires on the two shops that run for their runners today.
100 km to go
We drove at a relatively slow pace throughout the opening 93.5km, but are now entering the final half of the race. There is still a long way to go, but once the sprint teams take an interest, the pace will pick up very quickly.
Ben O’Connor is having chain issues from the back of the peloton and has had to change his bike twice. There’s still nothing to worry about, but he’s hoping for better luck going into the final leg of the 100km race.
Read a recent Cyclingnews article on the Australian detailing how his ambitions remain high despite the difficulty of opening two stages.
Ben O’Connor – ‘The simple thing is I’m not good enough at the moment, weirdly’
Declercq was back in front for Soudal-Quick Step and would likely settle into a very long turn at the front. All of the runners are sitting very calmly in the group for the time being without the real urgency or pressure required in the current calm racing condition.
We’ve got the status quo in the peloton once again as the gap between the duo at the front has been allowed to widen to 2:33. We’re still going up the coast of the Bay of Biscay with our categorized climb remaining before we head back through San Sebastian and approach the French border.
120 km to go
Lafay was now reaccommodated and the gap between the leading duo was reduced to just 1:50 with Alpecin-Deceuninck and Jayco-AlUla sitting up front.
Powless took two more KOM points atop the Col d’Itziar (5.1km at 4.6%) and will only want to repeat that on the final categorized climb of the day, the Côte de Orioco Pinta (4.6km at 6.3%), before halting his effort.
Job done for Lafay who increased his score to 80. There are only three runners who can surpass or equal that total if they win today and get the perfect 50: Van Aert (36), Pedersen (31) and Philipsen (30).
Lidl-Trek took the lead in the intermediate race again with Mads Pedersen taking the remaining 13-point first prize. Quinn Simmons, Jasper Stuyven and Alex Kirsch have been the order and they are looking like a well oiled machine so far. We’ll see how they fare in the final group later today, if there is one.
Jordi Meeus (Bora-hansgrohe) crossed the line next after Pedersen with Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) the next best and took 10 points.
Pichon takes the middle sprint with Powless on second. They take 20 and 17 points respectively and Lafay is set to earn another 15 points for crossing the line to Deba in third.
130 kilometers to go
Lafay is in time trial mode and is making short work of the leading duo feature. He’s already got a minute out of them and is now 1:36 into the breakaway.
Lafay has just made his way from the front of the peloton in his new green jersey. He will be looking for more points in the green classification in the intermediate sprint to Diba. He knows he probably won’t be in the group sprints today, so this is his best chance to gain more points.
Here’s Victor Lafayette looking great in the green jersey, which he earned after his heroic second stage win yesterday. His attack under the flame of the torch was too much for the rest of the reduced group at the head of the race, and he pulled off Cofidis’ first Tour de France win since 2008.
Check out Lafay’s green jersey below.
La première étape du reste de sa carrière 🔥 #TDF2023 🎥 @MathildeLAzou pic.twitter.com/kRufxPNCoEJuly 3, 2023
Take a look below at Lekeitio’s adorable Basque fan watching the peloton fly by. Red, white and green Basque flags were seen on all routes across these opening three stages, showing how important cycling is to this region.
148 kilometers to go
Tadej Pogačar had a rear wheel puncture which is now being changed again in the team car. He is, of course, not nervous about being left for too long on today’s stage.
Mark Cavendish (Astana Kazakhstan) had a puncture but did not panic as the group was still incredibly calm. Alexey Lutsenko and Yevgeny Federov have helped him get back into the peloton.
Today could be the Manx Rocket’s first chance to attempt that record-breaking 35th Tour de France win, which would see him overtake Eddy Merckx for the Tour stage wins leaderboard.
Silly crowds in Lekeitio to encourage the two leaders. Everyone on the streets is cheering our leader in the Basque sunshine. They are now turning up the coast of the Bay of Biscay as they head towards the French border.
Take a look below at Nelson Paulis having the time of his life in a polka dot T-shirt for EF Education-EasyPost
👍 😁 👍🔴⚪npowless 🇺🇸#TDF2023 | MustafaHosny Oh God, AmenJuly 3, 2023
We have some major teams with an eye on the sprint coming to the front of the peloton, albeit with one rider each for the time being. Soudal-Quick Step for Fabio Jakobsen, Alpecin-Deceuninck for Jasper Philipsen, Jayco AlUla for Dylan Groenewegen and Lidl-Trek for Mads Pedersen.
The gap for the leader is now down to 3:30.
Powless took off for the KOM solo point atop this second climb of the day. He eased off the line before the Pichon, arms held high and thumbs up. He’s definitely enjoying his day in red shorts and on recess.
The two leaders entered the second categorized climb of the day, the Côte de Milloy (2.3km with a rate of 4.5%).
165 kilometers to go
Powless and Pichon’s advantage in the lead has gone as far as 2:44 with no urgency behind even starting to consider their swing just yet.
Jacobsen, one of the favorites for the day, just had a bike change and is now riding to get back into the peloton.
Adam Yates is back in the team car after adjusting his race radio in his yellow jersey.
While we have our quieter period of racing, be sure to take the opportunity to read up on some of it cycling news It is produced on the grounds of the Tour de France.
Technical Editor Josh Croxton has been keeping an eye on the latest tech, newest bikes and trickiest hacks on show at Grand Depart. Check out Josh’s gallery of the best tech features including Caleb Ewan’s prototype bike and Mark Cavendish’s limited edition Willier bike below.
Tour de France mega tech show: all the highlights of the Grand Depart
Powless and Pichon lead the descent towards the next town of Markina Xemein as the riders continue heading north towards the coast. Once in Lekeitio, they will turn right and start heading up the coast of the Bay of Biscay into France.
180 kilometers to go
Powless takes the first full two-point lead from King of the Mountains over the first climb as he eases in front of Pichon. The American gave us a little rush of the bike as he and Pichon continued their comfortable ride at the head of the race.
Tim ‘El Tractor’ Declercq (Soudal-Quick Step) has taken his position at the front of the peloton for a Belgian side that has on many occasions dominated the sprints. He and his teammates will work to help Fabio Jacobsen (Soudal-Quick Step) who won the first stage in last year’s Tour de France.
Spirits rise at the front with Powless and Pichon sharing a laugh at the head of the race. No team in the peloton has had the lead to establish any sort of control yet, with the gap now close to 2:00 as they ride the first climb of the day.
Here’s a look at the four jersey wearers from the start of the day: Lafay in green after his stunning stage win yesterday, Yeats in a maillot johnny after hanging on for stage two, Paulis who is already on the break to try to gain more KOM points and Bojjar, who will be delighted With the start of his Emirati team in the 2023 tour so far.
We are heading out of Durango at the moment as once again fans have come in droves to support the Knights. Cycling is notoriously a religion in the Basque Country, but the crowds were absolutely amazing throughout Grand Depart.
The gap between the duo at the front already grew after 30 seconds as the peloton settles into the start. It didn’t take long for us to reach the first 6km climb on the Côte de Trabacoa (4.1km up 5.4%).
Powless has clearly primed for the exact move he made when the flag was waved, as he’s donning his skin suit and ready for a day of chasing KOM points.
193.5 km to launch
here we are! The official start has been taken and the races are well underway. It is, as expected, Powless who immediately shoots from the front to make sure he is in the fight for King of the Mountain points so he can defend his jersey.
Joined by Laurent Pichon (Arkéa-Samsic)
Here’s another look at the profile for today’s 193.5km stage before we hit kilometer 0. You can see the four seeded climbs coming in the first 100km of the race, so expect a battle for the break to battle it out for these kings. mountain points.
Nelson Pauwels (EF Education-EasyPost) is definitely trying to catch a break as he currently leads the KOM classification with four points ahead of Tadej Pogacar (Emirati Team Emirates)
The riders started from the starting line in Amorebieta-Etxano. We of course got our neutral start as the riders lapped more of the lines of Basque fans in great support.
There were no more abandonments after the second stage thankfully, despite the scare of Lotto-Dstny Tour rider Jasper de Buest. The Belgian team tweeted that he and young prospect Maxim van Giles will start the stage today after being released.
Today they will work to help Caleb Ewan.
Update and good news 😉 After testing on cylinders this morning, @JasperDeBuyst will be starting at Amorebieta-Etxano for Stage 3 #TDF2023. https://t.co/THSWb1EfPNJuly 3, 2023
The riders prepare to take off at Amorebieta-Etxano, a site that has hosted its own uci one-day race, the Klasika Primavera, since the 1950s and has been won by the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Sastre.
We changed the course due to safety concerns for the day with the stage stretching to 193.5km to avoid dangerous road furniture.
Read about the full changes and why they were made here.
We had two brutal days of racing in Spain’s Basque Country with Adam Yates (Emirates UAE Team) and Victor Lafaye (Cofidis) winning. Today should be the runners’ first chance to stretch their legs in a group finish in Bayonne.
Good morning and welcome cycling news Live coverage of the third stage of the 2023 Tour de France!
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