Tour de France: stage three chaos as Roglic and Thomas take tumbles

All hell broke loose at the Tour de France as both overall favourites and sprint contenders hit the tarmac on a chaotic third stage to Pontivy.

Tadej Pogacar, Geraint Thomas, Primoz Roglic, Jack Haig, Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan were among the many casualties as the peloton tackled narrow winding roads and a twisting sprint on the approach to the finish.

While the 183-kilometre stage was won by Tim Merlier of the Alpecin-Fenix team, Sagan and Ewan crashed hard in the finishing straight with the Australian sprinter lying prone and in pain, as others rode around him.

Thomas was not the only pre-race favourite to fall, as Roglic also fell heavily, 10 kilometres from the finish and was forced to chase furiously with five of his teammates, as the peloton sped towards the finish.

Thomas’s hopes of a successful Tour campaign appeared to be evaporating after the Welshman crashed heavily, less than 40 kilometres into the stage. Il 2018 champion spent a few minutes sitting on the road, in obvious pain, but eventually remounted to continue and finish ahead of many of the day’s other fallers.

Thomas was treated for a reported dislocated shoulder after crashing alongside Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate, Robert Gesink, who was forced to abandon due to his injuries. A third crash, as Roglic and his colleagues closed on the front group, left French sprinter Arnaud Démare, battered and bloodied at the road side.

Although Thomas finished the stage, his shoulder injury may yet hamper him in the days to come, particularly in Wednesday’s crucial first individual time-trial, of 27 kilometres, from Change to Laval. Roglic too, shorts ripped and hip shredded as he crossed the line, may struggle to be at his best, along with the time he lost on the day. Mathieu van der Poel remains in yellow.

Nel frattempo, the hunt for the unknown banner-wielding fan, blamed for the mass crash on stage one, continued, with French police renewing their efforts to locate the mystery woman. The French media even suggested that, if found guilty of an offence, the culprit could be subjected to a custodial sentence. “According to article 222-20 of the Penal Code, the spectator would risk a maximum penalty of one year of imprisonment as well as a fine of €15,000,” stated L’Equipe.

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