The Tour de France left the Spanish Basque Country on Monday to enter French territory, and as expected, the stage ended with a bunch sprint in the city of Bayonne. Well supported by his teammates in quite a tense last hour of racing, David Gaudu finished in the bunch, in the same time as Jasper Philipsen, the day’s winner. Before entering the Pyrenees on Wednesday, a new sprint is anticipated tomorrow in Nogaro.

On Monday, the “Grand Départ” from the Basque Country was officially coming to an end. However, before completing three days of continued celebration and intense passion, the peloton still had to cover 134 kilometres in the Spanish region before reaching France for the last sixty kilometres of stage 3. These 134 kilometres were also, and by far, the hardest of the day since they featured all four climbs listed on the profile. This especially led the polka dot jersey’s wearer Neilson Powless to hit the front once again, together with Laurent Pichon, in order to secure his leadership. However, the Franco-American duo never benefited from a comfortable lead over the peloton, which was determined to bring the first proper sprint of this 2023 ‘Grande Boucle’. Only interested in the mountain classification, Powless also stopped his effort in the lead once the last climb was done, while Pichon extended the journey up to thirty-seven kilometres from the finish. It therefore all came back together as the last hour of racing barely started due to increased tension in the pack. “It was calmer than the first two days, but this kind of stage is always stressful”, said Philippe Mauduit. “As we saw in the final, all teams want to bring up their sprinter, and all those who have a man for the overall want to avoid crashes. As a result, it’s like a big washing machine up front, and that causes stressful situations”.

“A good day for David and for the team”, Philippe Mauduit

As soon as he entered the last fifty kilometres and up to the last three, David Gaudu enjoyed the support of his teammates to stay in good position. “The roles are well shared between them”, added Philippe. “We know that there are still fewer risks at the front than in the middle of the peloton, so we try to stay there while patiently awaiting the final”. Like last weekend, Lars van den Berg was again the first one to take command on Monday, and he kept the lead for quite a while. “I try to keep David out of trouble in the final”, explains the young Dutchman. “It’s my job for the moment, because it’s very nervous at the start of the Tour. I think it’s gone well so far. Besides, I feel good. The approach is a little different from other races because it’s already nervous 80 kilometres from the finish, but eventually, it’s like the Classics”. After the day’s 193 kilometres, the peloton therefore got to France, in Bayonne, where Jasper Philipsen won the sprint. David Gaudu and his teammates safely reached the line, and the climber therefore remains twelfth overall on Monday evening. “It’s quite a good day for David, and for the team in general”, said Philippe. “Thibaut and Valentin could recover, Kevin and Stefan are getting stronger. It bodes well.” “It’s super special to be here,” concluded Lars. “Once my work is done, I finish easy and I have time to watch all the public on the side of the road and enjoy. The atmosphere was incredible over these first three days”. On Tuesday, the riders will head to Nogaro after 181 kilometres from Dax.

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