The sprinters at the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné missed out on a valuable opportunity on stage three of the race, as a six-man breakaway was able to stay up the road and contest the victory.
Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) was the man able to sprint ahead to cross the line first, celebrating clad in the king of the mountains jersey which he wore due to Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) still holding the race lead.
A very fast day at the Dauphiné saw Bouwman and Alexey Vermeulen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Quentin Pacher and Edvaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) get away after just two kilometres of racing in the 184km stage.
They built up a maximum gap of seven minutes at one point, but that was down to 3-50 by 65km to go.
The pace continued to stay high at an average of 44kph for the most part, and with the gap still at 1-40 with 15km to go, the likes of FDJ, Katusha and Dimension Data were all starting to work hard on the front to bring the six riders back.
The twisty run-in to town played into the hands of the break, and they looked increasingly likely to hold on to contest the win with 40 seconds at just over 3km to the line.
FDJ, who were looking for a second stage win after leading Arnaud Démare to victory on stage two, were becoming increasingly frustrated as the gap steadied and the GC teams like Sky began to control the front of the bunch to protect their leaders.
The break continued to work well together even in the final kilometre, and it was Dutchman Bouwman who launched his sprint first and managed to hold his speed ahead of his pursuing breakaway rivals.
Edvaldas Siskevicius was able to latch onto his wheel but didn’t ever look like overtaking 23-year-old Bouwman, who crossed the line to take his first pro win.
Behind, Dérmare was able to win the sprint from the bunch ahead of compatriot Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Thomas De Gendt retained his overall lead of the race ahead of Frenchman Axel Domont (Ag2r La Mondiale), but will face his first real challenge in holding onto it with the a 23.5km time trial awaiting the riders on stage four on Wednesday.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2017 stage three, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon – Tullins (184km)
1 Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, in 4-06-06
2 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
3 Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
4 Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Direct Energie
5 Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
6 Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
7 Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ, at 11 seconds
8 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
9 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb, all same time
General classification after stage three
1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal, 12-37-04
2 Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, 48s
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Emirates, at 1:03
4 Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, at 1:07
5 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 1:09
7 Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE Emirates
8 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
10 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty – Groupe Gobert, all same time