Jasper sprints to third place in a tough uphill finish in Épernay.
Jasper Stuyven confirmed his good form with a third-place finish in a steep uphill finish of stage three at the Tour de France.
The up and down parcours of the 215-kilometer stage was perfect for the punchers and classics specialists alike, and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) certainly proved to be the strongest, taking a solo win over the grueling terrain into Épernay.
With the win already sealed, it was a sprint for the minor places from the bunch and Michael Matthews (Sunweb) came overtop of Stuyven just ahead of the line to grab second.
I was almost best of the rest. I had good legs but it's not a win. I wanted to try today and I did well and it's nice to get another confidence boost for the next days.
I have to say when I looked at Google Streets last night the finish looked less steep! But I felt good and those finishes fit me well.
I switched bikes in the race, from the aero Madone to the lightweight Émonda, which I think was a good call today. It was planned. With the big roads to Reims and the tailwind, it was a big advantage to have the aero bike, and the light bike was perfect for the steep climbs.
It's nice to do well on a really hard day. Alaphilippe was the strongest, but it's nice when you feel good to have kind of a result.