Tour de France: Quick-Step Floors take third in Cholet
The World Tour leader continues to top the team standings at the Grande Boucle.
Cholet welcomed the Tour de France for the fourth time in history, 82 years from making its debut as stage finish of a 65km individual time trial. Also this time, the town voted three times France's most sports friendly city hosted a stage against the clock, but one reserved to the teams, who knew the 35.5km course, which packed a rolling terrain, had the potential to shake up the general classification.
Quick-Step Floors – with two National ITT Champions in their ranks – were the last team to roll down the ramp and enjoyed a solid start, passing through the first split just three seconds behind the best time. Despite losing Tim Declercq and Fernando Gaviria before the 20km-to-go mark, the six remaining riders kept pushing hard, always staying close to BMC, who set the fastest time and went on to win the stage.
After stopping the clock in 38:53, only seven seconds in arrears, Quick-Step Floors slotted into third place for the team's 88th podium finish of the season, which so far has been an outstanding one for our outfit, World Tour leader and winner of 48 UCI races. Following Monday's result, three Quick-Step Floors riders made their way into the top 10 overall – Philippe Gilbert (4th), Bob Jungels (5th) and Julian Alaphilippe (6th) – while our squad retained the place at the top of the team classification.
"I'm proud of the boys, because despite losing some riders too early we were always up there, went hard and were in the mix for the win until the very end. The guys are a bit disappointed, which shows how competitive they are and how much they wanted the victory today. Nevertheless, their ride showed again that the team is very strong and confident for the upcoming days", explained sports director Tom Steels after stage 3.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images