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TDF (3): Offredo in the breakaway, Meurisse with the favorites

TDF (3): Offredo in the breakaway, Meurisse with the favorites

The third stage in the Tour de France (2.WT, 6-28/07) started in Binche, on home soil of our title sponsor Wanty. Yoann Offredo, over-motivated by the vocal enthusiasm of the local public, was the first of the day to attack. The French man was part of a five man breakaway, which started the climb of Reims in the front. The breakaway was finally caught with 30 kilometers to go, shortly before the last escapee Tim Wellens. Xandro Meurisse, with good legs, collected one point for the mountains classification and stayed close to the favorites until the end. Julian Alaphilippe soloed towards the victory in Epernay, with Meurisse, 8th, and Guillaume Martin, 15th, finishing in the first group. 

Xandro Meurisse :

« This morning, I wanted either try to be part of the breakaway and win points for the mountains jersey, or contest the final. Finally, we decided to go for the second option, because the categorized climbs were in the final of the stage. I collected one point in the second climb, without spoiling a lot of energy, and didn't leave this position in the front anymore. »

« We were still two in the first group, with Guillaume Martin. This finish was perfect for me and permitted me to pretend a good result. Finally, we both finished in the top 15, with an 8th place for me. I'am very happy to start my first Tour de France with a top 10! » 

Guillaume Martin :

« We were in a good situation with Yoann Offredo in the front. We had to limit the time losses in the final, because the last 120 kilometers were very nervous. The repetition of climbs was very demanding, with a parcours suiting Alaphilippe perfectly. I followed as good as I could. I finish in the middle of all favorites, between Fuglsang and Thomas, so I'm in a good rhythm. I'm impatient to contest the first mountain stage towards La Planche des Belles Filles, a climb I know well. » 

Yoann Offredo :

« I announced it: I wanted to attack. But this wasn't simple as many riders shared the same idea. I talked to Stéphane Rossetto, so we escaped together. Wellens was very strong and smart. I really thought we could go far if we still had six minutes leaving Reims. But Wellens was stronger and went solo, so there was nothing more to do. » 

Stage 3:
1. Julian Alaphilippe
2. Michael Matthews +0:26
3. Jasper Stuyven
8. Xandro Meurisse
15. Guillaume Martin +0:31
75. Andrea Pasqualon +3:51
94. Odd Eiking +9:26
119. Yoann Offredo +13:58
122. Frederik Backaert
126. Kévin Van Melsen
168. Aimé De Gendt

Provisional general classification:
1. Julian Alaphilippe
2. Wout Van Aert +0:20
3. Steven Kruiswijk +0:25
57. Xandro Meurisse +2:18
59. Guillaume Martin +2:23
78. Andrea Pasqualon +5:43
108. Odd Eiking +11:18
146. Yoann Offredo +15:53
147. Frederik Backaert +15:59
149. Kévin Van Melsen +16:10
154. Aimé De Gendt +16:31