Julian Alaphilippe soloed to victory on stage three of the Tour de France to take the yellow jersey off Mike Teunissen.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider attacked on the final categorised climb of the 215km stage from Binche to Epernay and raced clear to take the win 26 seconds ahead of the pack, which was led over the line by Team Sunweb's Michael Matthews.

With Jumbo-Visma's Teunissen having been dropped from the main pack, that was enough for Alaphilippe to take the yellow jersey for the first time in his career.

It was an 11th victory of the year for the Frenchman but the one he has wanted most, having made this stage his first target of the Tour.

Mitchelton-Scott sporting director Matt White joked in the morning the lumpy finish to the stage so suited last year's King of the Mountains he may have designed it himself, and the 27-year-old certainly executed his strategy to perfection.

The peloton was baring down on Lotto-Soudal's Tim Wellens, the last survivor of the day's breakaway, as they hit the 12 per cent inclines of the Cote de Mutigny.

As the summit came into view, Alaphilippe launched his move cresting the summit on Wellens' wheel before bursting clear. 

Alaphilippe's advantage was already 50 seconds by the time he reached the foot of the descent.

There were still challenges to come - the uncategorised Cote du Mont Bernon inside the final five kilometres and then the eight per cent gradients of the finish itself - but Alaphilippe always looked in control as he powered clear.

Notable gaps appeared behind, however, as defending champion Geraint Thomas gave up five seconds to Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal and Groupama-FDJ's general classification hopeful Thibaut Pinot. 

That left Thomas seventh in the early general classification standings, 45 seconds off Alaphilippe, with Bernal in sixth, 40 seconds down on yellow.

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) came home in a bunch 31 seconds off the stage winner and is 38th in the general classification.

His compatriot Nicolas Roche finished in the same group is 19th overall for Team Sunweb.