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Tour de Suisse stage 3: Mathieu van der Poel makes it two-in-a-row

Mathieu van der Poel slips ahead of Julian Alaphilippe by one second into the overall race lead.

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Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) took his second win in as many days at the 2021 Tour de Suisse.

Launching an untouchable sprint, the world cyclocross champion came around the world road champion like a freight train with 400m to go.

“I had a good day again,” van der Poel said. “I’d like to keep the [leader’s] jersey as long as possible, but in the mountains, it’ll be tough.”

With the margin and time bonus, the Dutchman leapfrogged over Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) into the overall race lead with a scant, one-second margin.

Alaphilippe had gone into the stage with a one-second deficit to Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ). The Swiss rider now is in third on the general classification, three seconds behind Alaphilippe.

How it happened

The break of the day featured four — Mathias Frank (AG2R Citroën), Remy Rochas (Cofidis), Claudio Imhof (Swiss national team), and Benjamin King (Rally Cycling) — into the final 50km of racing.

Nerves were high, and a touch of wheels just inside of 30km to go brought down a rider each from Jumbo Visma, Movistar, and Lotto-Soudal. All initially appeared to be OK, and resumed racing.

And then another small tumble just 2km later brought down a bigger group, including the white jersey worn by Nielson Powless (EF Education-Nippo). In the red-white-and-blue of the national champion, Alex Howes went back for his EF Education-Nippo teammate, to escort him back into the main group.

While this was happening, up at the front of the race in the break Rochas attacked, and only King of Rally Cycling responded.

Imhoff had been shed from the break and was absorbed by the peloton.

“Alapanache” attacks, again!

In what looked to be a replay of the previous stage, Alaphilippe attacked in what looked like a move to distance himself from the sprinting specialists before the finishline.

The world champion brought back the final man from the break, Rochas, and powered on at 25km to go.

He gained as much as eight seconds, and then sat up and slid back into the chase group, on the wheels of his teammates.

Ineos took over leadership on the front, towing Richard Carapaz into a favorable position.

Into the final 15km, attacks came fast and furious, but nothing stuck.

Iván García (Movistar Team) tried to catch the bunch on the front by surprise. His attempt at a solo raid kept him off the front from kilometers eight to four. He was brought back by the “Wolfpack” towing Alaphilippe, who was shadowed by van der Poel and Carapaz.

The Deceuninck-Quick-Step squad rode a perfect train to deliver Alaphilippe from 1.5km to go, until 400m. And then van der Poel rode out from behind the world champion, rocketing away, again, without anyone in the group able to respond to his winning sprint.

Van der Poel now leads the general classification by just one second.

When asked about holding onto his overall lead and also scoring a hat-trick of stage wins, the grandson of Tour de France legend Raymond Poulidor was optimistic.

“I could win tomorrow, everything is possible, and someone has to win, right?” Van der Poel said.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.