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Australian Caleb Ewan wins Tour de France third stage with sprint finish

Ewan’s top speed in the finale reached 68.8km/h.

Bennett crossed second and Nizzolo came third — both with the same time as Ewan.

Ewan, who rides for the Lotto-Soudal team, won three stages last year, including the coveted final leg on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Alaphilippe crossed with the main pack and retained a four-second lead over Adam Yates, with Marc Hirschi still third overall, seven seconds behind.

After the opening two stages in the Mediterranean city of Nice, the race veered inland over a 198-kilometre route to Sisteron, which is labelled the “Gateway to Provence”.

The route featured four minor climbs before a flat finish suited to sprinters.

Three French riders — Anthony Perez, Jérôme Cousin and Benoît Cosnefroy — broke away at the start and established an advantage of nearly three minutes.

Cousin was left to push on midway through the stage, and created a solo lead of just over four minutes after Perez and Cosnefroy settled back into the peloton.

Cousin was finally caught by the main pack with 16 kilometres remaining.

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Perez, meanwhile, crashed into his team car on a high-speed descent after puncturing a tyre and broke his left collarbone — forcing him to abandon the race.

It was an especially unfortunate accident for Perez, since he had already gained enough points to don the polka-dot mountains classification jersey after the stage.

Stage 4 on Tuesday features the race’s first summit finish with a climb to Orcières-Merlette that should force the overall favourites — such as defending champion Egan Bernal — into action.

The three-week Tour, which was postponed from its usual July slot due to the coronavirus, ends in Paris on September 20.

AP

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