Gallery: Bernal, Gilbert, Van Avermaet display coordinated strength at the Étoile de Bessèges

A star-studded break puts on a masterclass in how to make a breakaway stick.

It’s not unusual to see Tour de France winners shoulder to shoulder with world and Olympic champions at a grand tour, but to see them together in a break at an early season race like the Étoile de Bessèges in southeastern France is spectacular.

Egan Bernal and former world champion teammate Michał Kwiatkowski worked with Philippe Gilbert — another former world champ — and defending Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet and a dozen or so others to successfully stay away from a hard-chasing peloton.

The break caused enough of a disruption to the race, that the main group fractured into three grupettos behind them, trying to contain the damage to the general classification.

While stage two was a success for a smaller Continental squad, stage 3 was all about WorldTour dominance.