The crash-marred stage 3 of the Tour de France took down many riders and shook up the GC positions. Just as it seemed like the carnage of the stage was coming to an end, within the final few hundred meters, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) both went down in a nasty crash.
According to Bora-Hansgrohe, Sagan is expected to start Tuesday’s fourth stage despite some heavy blows and scrapes to his hip, but for Ewan, one of the favourites to win the sprint on the stage, the crash meant a very early end to his Tour de France.
Ultimately, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) took the stage win—his first-ever. Ewan was left lying on the ground, in sight of the line as riders crossed the finish. He was transported to the hospital with a broken collar bone.
We have an unfortunate update about @CalebEwan 😰
Following his crash, Caleb is forced to leave the race due to a right collarbone fracture. More news to follow.
— Lotto Soudal (@Lotto_Soudal) June 28, 2021
Early on in the stage, Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) fell hard, dislocating his shoulder. After a medic popped his shoulder back in place the cyclist managed to get back to the group finishing just 26 seconds down from Merlier.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), a GC favourite, and the defending champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) both lost time catching back to the front group after crashes. When Roglič went down on a narrow road the Jumbo-Visma squad all fell back to pull the Slovenian back, but he still lost 1:21 to Merlier.
In the end Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma), Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) and Ewan all had to abandon due to injuries, while many other cyclists required medical attention after all the crashes.
Andre Greipel noted that a request for a “safe zone” where GC times are taken before the actual finish line (in case of mechanicals or crashes) was refused before the race, although after the race Ewan and Sagan were placed at the same time as the winner due to the crash in the final 3km.
Whoever designed today’s stage @LeTour should try to ride with 180 riders on a twisty 5m wide road next to each other and pushing Wachbootes to the limits. Of course we riders make the race at the end but the riders also ask for an earlier time taking 5 km to go which was refused
— Andre Greipel (@AndreGreipel) June 28, 2021