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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of Stage 3 of the Eneco Tour. The stage is a tough day in the Flemish hills around the town of Ronse. It is a summer visit to the roads of the Spnig classics.
The pace of the race has just eased but there was lots of action earlier. Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) was in the early break of the day and cleverly took the bonus seconds at the two intermediate sprints. He is the virtual race leader although he is now struggling to hang onto the peloton on the steep cobbled climbs that are like sharks teeth on the race profile.
Upfront the peloton is splitting after the first of the final five climbs, the Mont Saint-Laurent.
There are five riders with a 100m gap. The bunch is chasing but the race is on.
Edvald Boasson Hagen is up there, with two Rabobank riders and Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia)
15 riders have now formed at the front with Boasson Hagen and Martin. But we can expected another selection very soon.
Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank) and Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) are on the attack again over the top of the Mont d’Ellezelles climb.
The duo have 16 seconds now as they turn right and head to the Kanarieberg climb. There are two chaser, with other small groups scattered behind them.
Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne) and Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas-Doimo) are the first chasers but Kiryienka is struggling. The next group is now 50 seconds behind.
Canada's Svein Tuft is the main peloton. The Garmin rider will have to hope the race comes back together and that Andre Greipel is not there if he wants to keep the leader's jersey.
The race has settled down but there are still two tough climbs before the finish.
Saxo Bank and Team Sky are now working on the front of the chase group. There are about 50 riders in the group. But the gap is still opening.
Tony Martin is working hard on the front. He is only seven seconds down in the overall standings and looks set to take the overall race lead if the move stays away.
The Kruisberg is the next climb. It is 950 metres long at 6.6%.
Svein Tuft is at the front of the chase group as Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) jumps away. The gap is now 55 seconds.
Other riders have joined Porte but the race is very fluid. The gap is coming down slowly but so is the race distance.
The Oude Kwaremont is the next and final climb. It is 2200m long at climbs at 4.3%
The gap to the two leaders is now over a minute. The three chasers are not pulling back much time either.
Indeed the trio have been caught. But does the bunch have the desire and strength to pull back Martin and Moerenhout? Probably not.
Rabobank put three riders on the front of the peloton, blocking the road but Richie Porte quickly stopped their blocking technique as the Kwaremont kicks in.
Here comes Eddy... Eddy Basson Hagen. He's powered off the front, smashing the group but can he close the gap on his own?
Martin and Moerenhout go over the top of the first part of the cobbled climb, with Boasson Hagen chasing alone. The peloton is at 1:07
The gaps are widening and the bunch is plitting on the second section of cobbles.
The chasers can see Boasson Hagen up the road on a long drag up. He is strong but used his strength at the wrong time.
Boasson Hagen is trying to time trial in the pursuit of the two leaders.
There is a dozen or so riders chasing Boasson Hagen but Svein Tuft does not seem to be with them.
The chasers are at 1:15, with Tuft at 1:30.
Tuft is closing the gap behind.
Boasson Hagen is still chasing hard. He won't catch them but will gain time on the other riders.
Will Martin let Moerenhout take the stage in exchange for helping him gain precious time overall? Probably. The time Martin has gained is likely to be enough to set him up for overall victory.
Boasson Hagen is caught by the chasers as they acclelerate but they have left it too late to catch the two up front.
Where in the final kilometre of the stage.
Here's the sprint for the stage win.
Moerenhout goes for it a long way out but had the legs to out power Martin. However Martin will take the overall race lead.
Allan Davis (Astana) wins the sprint for third but throws up his arms thinking he has won the stage.
The other groups of riders are finishing now. Edvald Boasson Hagen was fourth but missed out on the time bonuses.
Martin is confirmed as new overall leader, 10 seconds ahead of Moerenhout.
That's it for today's live coverage. Join us next time for more action from Eneco Tour.