Lorena Wiebes emerged as the winner of the third stage of the Tour de France, outpacing Marianne Vos in a mass sprint. This came after Julie Van de Velde rode solo for over sixty kilometres, only to be caught a hundred metres shy of the finish line.
On the third day of the women’s Tour de France, the cyclists journeyed from Collonges-la-Rouge to Montignac-Lascaux. The course comprised several climbs in its initial half, albeit without serious difficulty, and after 147 kilometres of racing, a mass sprint seemed the most probable outcome.
Following the starting signal, various cyclists broke away from the group. Kathrin Hammes made a significant break, leading the pack for many kilometres, though her maximum lead was limited to a minute and a half. Despite several attempted counter-attacks, none were successful in bridging the gap.
However, Hammes was reeled in by the main group eighty kilometres from the finish line. This triggered a series of escape attempts, including those by Lucinda Brand and Elena Cecchini, but it was SD Worx who eventually gained control, intending to bring Wiebes to a sprint finish.
Defying the odds, Julie Van de Velde broke free sixty kilometres from the end. The cyclist from Fenix-Deceuninck quickly widened her gap, securing mountain points on the Côte des Andrieux and Côte de Saint-Robert, thus taking the mountain jersey from her teammate Yara Kastelijn who earned it on yesterday’s stage. Van de Velde maintained a two-minute lead into the final 25 kilometres.
When dsm-firmenich started to ride, Van de Velde’s lead swiftly diminished, although she fought vigorously to defend her remaining advantage. The Belgian cyclist entered the final kilometre with a twelve-second lead, but the stage proved to be a hundred metres too long for her as after a robust lead-out from Lotte Kopecky, Wiebes eventually clinched the victory, narrowly besting Vos. Kopecky held onto the leader’s jersey. Lorena Wiebes expressed delight at her first Tour de France Femmes stage victory this year and heaped praise on her team, particularly Kopecky, who she described as “insane.”
Wiebes also acknowledged her team for bridging the gap to Van de Velde, saying, “They positioned me perfectly. When we were told in the last five kilometres that she still had a 35-second lead, all the girls were sent forward to close the gap.”
Wiebes remarked, “When I felt Marianne Vos coming up, I went for it,” ending on a high note, “I’m happy with this victory and glad I had a good day.”
In a hard-fought day, Team dsm-firmenich helped reel in Van de Velde just before the finish line, where their own sprinter, Charlotte Kool, secured seventh place. Kool later voiced disappointment with the outcome, seeing it as a “missed opportunity”.
Vos, who finished a strong second, paid tribute to her teammate Anna Henderson’s lead-out and acknowledged Wiebes’ superior speed in the sprint. Vos concluded, “Winning a Tour stage is not easy. It remains the biggest cycling event of the season. Now it is important to recover well from another tough stage.”
2023 Tour de France Femmes Stage 3 result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: Getty Images