The charming little Jura village of Val d’Epy had at least quadrupled its population of around 350 inhabitants to welcome the competitors in the Tour de l’Avenir women’s race in a joyous country atmosphere.
After American rider Nathalie Quinn’s solo breakaway failed with around twenty kilometres to go, it was the long but steady climb of Thoissia, with around fifteen kilometres to go, that cut off the peloton and it was an initial group of 20 riders (including three French riders, Léa Curînier, Cedrine Kerbaol and Olivia Onesti) that battled it out for victory.
Dutch rider Fem Van Empel, who celebrates her 21st birthday next week, showed her versatility as the current world champion in cyclo-cross (a title she won with the Élites) won the sprint and also scored a prestigious victory on the road. She also added the green Biofioul jersey to her Alden polka-dot jersey.
Germany’s Antonia Niedermaier, who set the pace on the main climb, retains the CIC yellow jersey ahead of the mountainous section.
Stage 4, Challes-les-Eaux – Megeve (79.8km), is an alpine approach with the Cernix climb in 1st category 16km from the finish.