Alaphilippe breaks away to take overall Tour de France lead

Peter Sagan in green at the Tour de France after stage 3

Peter Sagan in green at the Tour de France after stage 3

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider gambled and attacked on the penultimate climb of the day, 15km from the finish in Epernay.

Alaphilippe retains yellow, 20 seconds clear of Belgium's Wout van Aert, whose Team Jumbo-Visma teammates Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett are third and fourth overall, 25sec off the lead.

"I was really up for it today, so when I saw the chance I went all in", said a red-faced Alaphilippe after his third ever stage win and his first yellow jersey.

Alaphilippe's win came in dramatic fashion at the end of the 215-kilometer ride from Binche to Epernay that concluded with a series of hills.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas of Britain lost five seconds on two of his rivals - Ineos co-leader Egan Bernal of Colombia and France's Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ - at the finish.

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Wellens was caught by Alaphilippe at the top of the côte de Mutigny with 16km to go while he had a flat tyre so the Frenchman continued solo.

"I'm speechless. I don't realize what's happening to me", he said.

"I managed to avoid any pitfalls and crashes".

"That climb where Alaphilippe went was steep and it was hard, but I just knew I didn't have the legs to go for the bonus sprint", Thomas said. It's hard to meet the expectations of being the favourite. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) +0:26 4. The Belgian rider also took enough KOM points to take the Polka Dot jersey from CCC Team's Greg Van Avermaet.

Aussie Michael Matthews put in the next most scintillating effort, the former Canberran beating an all-star chase group across the line to claim second on the tough 215km stage. His margin of victory was enough to wreslte the yellow jersey away from Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma).

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