Tour de France Femmes stage 3 as it happened: Another shot for the sprinters' teams

Stage three takes the race from Collognes-la-rouge to Montignac-Lascaux

Welcome to day three of the tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Today is another chance for the sprinters to flex their not inconsiderable muscles. 

We, well me (Vern Pitt), will be here to keep you up to date on how the race goes.


Situation as TV starts

Canyon SRAM's new look

84km to go: The bunch is closing in on lone breakaway rider Hammes.

83km to go: I'm a little surprised that she is being brought back this soon, but I can't see any TV pictures yet so I'm not sure which team is responsible. You'd think any team with a sprinter would be quite happy to have her hang out there rather than risking a larger group going away in the latter stages.

82km to go: And she has been caught. Meanwhile GCN are still just showing footage of the start and talking.

81km to go: Hammes is caught.

She didn't get on TV but here is a picture on Kathrin Hammes on the attack today courtesy of Getty photographer Alex Broadway.

80km to go: Guess what? A load of attacks have sprung up since the bunch caught Hammes.

78km to go: Good job I mentioned Canyon Sram because that team seems very keen to animate this race.

77km to go: Now Alice Maria Arzuffi of Ceratizit WNT has clipped off the front. She has been joined by a few other riders now, one from Trek, another from UAE.

76km to go: There's six riders in this front group. I'll wait to see if it sticks before listing them. There's an SD Worx rider there.

75km to go: Nope that has been brought back. Lidl-Trek try again and now its Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) trying to force a split.

74km to go: The front of the peloton is under strain as gaps start to appear.

72km to go: It's all back together again and the peloton looks a bit like its taking a breather on this wide straight road.

Big money game

67km to go: Anna Henderson is paying for her earlier efforts as she's struggling to hold onto the back of the bunch.

64km to go: GCN asks Silvia Persico (UAE ADQ) what it's like to race the Tour de France on her birthday.

62km to go: An unusual sight, Lotte Kopecky, the yellow jersey holder, is working on the front of the bunch - although they are on a descent.

59km to go: Elizabeth Stannard, who had suffered a mechanical a while back has made it back to the bunch.

58km to go: Van de Velde has 34 seconds on the peloton now, which is a fairly healthy gap.

57km to go: Anouska Kosta (Uno-X) outsprints the KOM jersey holder to the final single point at the top of the climb. Meanwhile, van der Velde has 40 seconds.

55km to go: You can't sleep in this bunch as now more riders are trying to break clear and SD Worx are trying to shut it down. Kopecky is doing a lot of work to make that happen.

55km to go: Koster is on the attack again. Henderson is back at the front too. 

54km to go: The ever-entertaining Kasia Niewiadoma puts in a counter attack over the top of the KOM climb and she has bit of a gap. She's trying to gain time on the GC we suspect.

53km to go: Henderson appears to bridging across to her.

53km to go: Massive engine Marlen Reusser is pulling in the main body of the peloton, which is lined out.

52km to go: Niewiadoma has been brought back. In the process Van de Velde's gap has fallen to just 21 seconds.

44km to go: It's all settled down now and van der Velde's gap has risen to 1-13.

Finish time

38km to go: This gap is spiraling. It's now 1-47.

37km to go: Reusser is back on the front of the bunch.

36km to go: The race is now in a cross tail-wind, which does, of course, favor a solo rider.

34km to go: The lone rider out front now has 2-00. A brief reminder that the general rule is you can catch a break at one minute per 10km. That might not apply to a solo rider but who knows.

33km to go: It might sound like I'm talking up van de Velde's chances here, but I still think they're very close to zero.

30km to go: Floortje Mackaij (Movistar) is back at the team car having a mechanical attended to.

30km to go: Elena Cecchini and Coryn Labecki both come down. Cecchini is up sand off but Labecki is nursing a knee. She seems broadly OK.

29km to go: Labecki is chasing back on. Looks like a touch of wheels caused the crash.

25km to go: The gap to van de Velde is still 1-51 but the intermediate sprint is coming up, which will surely mean it narrows at least a bit.

24km to go: Lorena Wiebes takes the second place at the sprint (van de Velde obviously took the maximum points) ahead of Ashleigh Moolman. Anna Henderson tries an attack but is swiftly marked.

22km to go: Canyon Sram have come to the front en masse. They may be trying to split the bunch in the wind but its not working at the moment.

21km to go: The gap to the lone leader has fallen to 1-14. Canyon Sram have called off their assault. A group of about 10 riders have been distanced by their pressing on.

20km to go: DSM-firmenich have come to the front now. They are working for sprinter Charlotte Kool.

17km to go: DSM are really ramping this up now. The gap to the front is 54 seconds.

13km to go: The gap has fallen to 35 seconds. The road is fairly well hedged in so  I can't imagine van de Velde is getting much help from the wind.

10km to go: DSM continue to drive the peloton. The gap is now just 23 seconds. No way is this not coming down to a sprint.

8km to go: The pace has slacked off a touch in the bunch as all the teams with sprinters are amassing in formation at the front.

7.5km to go: DSM-firmenich are still driving the bunch. They have plenty of domestiques at their disposal still including British champion Pfeiffer Georgi who will be Kool's last lead out woman.

6km to go: Well this isn't going to the script the gap has increased to 30 seconds.

5.5km to go: Julie van de Velde is doing one hell of a job here, being helped by no other teams dedicating women to the chase led by DSM-firmenich.

4.5km to go: Van de Velde is holding the gap! 

4km to go: The gap is now 35 seconds and SD Worx have put someone into the chase.

3.7km to go: Van de Velde's jersey is covered in salt stains as the talented time trialist is gainning hope that she can hang on for victory.

2.6km to go: The pelton comes under the 3k mark and there is a degree of panic in the peloton. I made the gap 39 seconds but the timing says 22 seconds.

2km to go: Van de Velde has 20 seconds.

1.3km to go: The bunch can see van de Velde now.

1km to go: Van de Velde has 10 seconds.

Lidle Trek start the lead out for Balsamo.

There's less than 500m to go. She might do this.

Kopecky leads out.

Wiebes comes through for the win with Marianne Vos in second.

That's all for today I'm off to write a race report.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1