PONTIVY, France (AP) — Tim Merlier of Belgium powered to victory in the thirdon Monday when several top contenders hit the ground during another crash-marred day.
Merlier won ahead of his Alpecin-Fenix teammate Jasper Philipsen and Frenchman. There was a crash in the closing stages when ace sprinter Caleb Ewan’s front wheel slid from under him in the final turn. He brought with him. rode safely at the front throughout the day and escaped unscathed to keep the yellow jersey he earned on Sunday.
The narrow roads in the stage finale took a toll on many competitors, who crashed as the peloton rode at. Last year’s runner-up, , went down about nine kilometers from the end in the town of Pontivy.
Roglic returned on his bike but lost ground to his main rivals as his Jumbo-Visma teammates tried to pace him back to the peloton. Defending championwas slowed a few kilometers further down the road following another crash, but it was unclear whether he crashed.
Earlier, formerhit the tarmac but kept racing and was paced back to the peloton. The Ineos-Grenadiers leader fell off his bike and with about 145 kilometers left. The 2018 champion sat on the road for a while, clutching his right shoulder and grimacing in pain as he was tended to by the race doctor. It looked like he would retire but ultimately went back on his bike.
said the peloton was riding at 43 kph when the crash occurred. With his racing kit lacerated, Thomas . Teammate Luke Rowe waited for him, and the Welsh pair lagged 2 1/2 minutes behind the main pack. With the help of more teammates, they eventually caught the peloton after Thomas changed his bike. Robert Gesink, a teammate of last year’s runner-up Roglic, also fell and was forced to abandon.
Thomas was 20th overall before the start of the, 41 seconds behind race leader Van der Poel. He predicted “a stressful day” because of the bad weather conditions. The race started in the rain in Lorient, and five riders surged ahead immediately. Behind, the peloton rode at a pedestrian pace, and riders were accompanied by scattered showers making the roads slippery and dangerous.
The crash-prone Thomas has shown ie can soldier on in pain. When riding thein 2013, he fell off his bike on a Corsican road in the opening stage and broke his pelvis. Against all odds, Thomas kept racing on for 3,000 kilometers to the finish line in Paris, where he celebrated the first of Froome’s four Sky teammates.