No record for Mark Cavendish as Jasper Philipsen sprints to stage three victory

Mathieu Van Der Poel provides the perfect lead-out for his Belgian team-mate who makes no mistake on a tricky finish

Jasper Philipsen wins stage three of the 2023 Tour de France
(Image credit: Anne Christine Poujoulat / Getty)

The first bunch sprint victory of the Tour de France went to Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who pipped Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) to the win in Bayonne. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny) was third.

Mark Cavendish, who is hunting for a record 35th stage win, came in a creditable sixth in what was a very tricky finish, with multiple roundabouts and turns. 

Fabio Jakobsen's Soudal Quick Step appeared dominant throughout much of the final few kilometres, as the peloton fought to negotiate the tough parcours in prime position. But it was always going to be difficult to call and Jakobsen ultimately had to settle for fourth place.

The stage took riders from Amorebieta-Etxano in the Basque Country and deposited them back into France, 193.5km later in Bayonne.

It always looked like a sprint day, despite four classified climbs – one cat-four and three cat-threes. But they were all dealt with in the first half of the race, and after that the going was generally flat to rolling.

The early break was established almost immediately, with King of the Mountains Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) going up the road straight off the bat. He was joined by Frenchman Laurent Pichon of Arkéa-Samsic and the pair quickly built a three-minute lead.

Powless was obviously out to hold on to the polka-dot skinsuit he was wearing, and Pichon was happy to let him lead over every climb.

At the halfway point, with the climbs dispatched, Powless eased off the gas, allowing Pichon to ride on. 

With the sprinters always set on having their day, Pichon was inevitably caught, with 38km to go. From then, all eyes were on that sprint finish.

More to follow...

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

After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.