Belgian Tim Merlier won the third stage of the Tour de France on Monday, a 182.9-km ride from Lorient to Pontivy, as two of the favourites to win the race — Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic — suffered heavy crashes.
The Alpecin-Fenix rider led a team one-two ahead of compatriot Jasper Philipsen in a crash-marred sprint that saw pre-stage favourite Caleb Ewan hit the deck in the final metres. France’s Nacer Bouhanni came home third.
Slovenian Roglic, who finished second in Paris last year, crossed the line more than one minute off the pace as defending champion Tadej Pogacar ended almost 30 seconds behind the stage winner after being involved in a separate crash.
Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
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