Ludwig wins stage 3 of women's Tour de France, Vos stays in yellow

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Danish rider Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig outmuscled Marianne Vos to win stage three of the women's Tour de France on Tuesday but the veteran Dutch rider held on to the yellow jersey.

The day after a nightmare stage two for her FDJ-Suez team, marked by the abandonment of title contender Marta Cavalli, Ludwig battled back from a fall to produce a vintage performance amid the Champagne wineland.

After two relatively flat rides, the peloton had to face its first climbs as they took on the 133.6km course from Reims to Epernay.

Eleven riders slugged it out over the final stages, with Vos working hard to rejoin the leaders after being dropped.

The 35-year-old, who took over the yellow jersey with victory in stage two on Monday, kicked hard but it was the younger legs of 26-year-old Ludwig who powered through the line first.

"I wanted to help the team, keep my 'fighting spirit'," said Luwig who was wearing the jersey of Danish champion.

"I knew that if I had the legs, I could play for victory. But from there to do it, to become a winner of stage in the Tour de France and with this jersey... My God, what more could you ask for."

Team Jumbo-Visma's Vos finished two seconds behind, closely shadowed by South African Ashleigh Moolman, Italians Silvia Persico and Elisa Lono Borghini and Pole Katarzyna Niewiakoma.

Vos leads the general classification with a 16-second lead over Valcar's Persico and Niewiakoma of Canyon.

The eight-stage race ends on Sunday.

clv/bsp/jc