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Tour de France 2016: Stage 3

The caravan has just rolled out of town, which can only mean one thing, we're not too far away from the start of today's stage. 40 minutes to be exact. 

After yesterday's uphill finish, today's stage should be one for the pure sprinters. That's not to say it's straight forward, with a small ramp to the line that could catch some out. 

 

This is what the riders can look forward to today, one of the longest stages of this year's race. 

 

Before the riders set off, let's recap a few things from yesterday. Peter Sagan claimed his first Tour victory in two years and with it went into yellow. This is how yesterday finished.

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 4:20:51
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky

 

This is the complexion of the GC this morning. In theory, yellow should be safe for Sagan for another day but this is the Tour de France and anything can happen. 

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 8:34:42
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:08
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:10
4 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:14
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Team
9 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step

 

You can see Sagan's team boss Oleg Tinkov celebrating that win and yellow jersey in his own unique style as captured by the press tent by our very own Stephen Farrand.

 

Here is that yellow jersey. So fresh and new that the tag is still on it.

 

 

Marcel Kittel missed out on day one, he'll be keen to rectify that in Angers.

 

 

Angers used to be a regular stage finish at the Tour de France but not so much in recent years. The last time the a race finished there was 2004 when Tom Boonen beat Stuart O'Grady and Erik Zabel to the stage win. 

 

Tour de France stage 2 highlights - Video https://t.co/ItYjMK6yMG https://t.co/cwzd62yPeB

@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 4th Jul 2016 09:40:01

The riders are off for today's stage. They are making their way through the neutralised section and we should have racing just before midday. 

 

This is Orica-BikeExchange's Adam Yates talking to fellow countryman Dan McLay on the start line. McLay is making his debut at the Tour de France this year and could be a wildcard in today's sprint finish. 

 

 

Note that Adam Yates is wearing a skinsuit in that image. He will be looking to help his teammate Michael Matthews take the stage win today. 

 

There are several riders who are in with a chance of victory today. We've mentioned a few and we'll run through some more throughout the stage but we also want to hear who you think will win. You can tweet us on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS and we'll show some of your predictions here. 

 

Meanwhile, the flag has dropped for racing proper. Despite some serious looking crashes in the opening weekend, all 198 riders have signed off and departed for Angers. 

 

Peloton passes through St Hilaire du Harcouet at 60km today. Town where Daniel Mangeas had his first ever job, as a baker.

@EdwardPickering Mon, 4th Jul 2016 10:00:35

There has been a very early break. Fortuneo-Vetal Concept's Armindo Fonseca has a big gap on the peloton. It's a long way to go on your own though. 

 

8km remaining from 223km

Fonseca's gap is now over three minutes after nine kilometres of racing. He's still got another 214 to go and it looks like the peloton is going to hang him out to dry. 

 

There is just one categorised climb on today's route. That is the fourth category Côte de Villedieu-les-Poêles. With only one point available at the top there is not enough for Fonseca to overhaul the Jasper Stuyven's four-point advantage. The Belgian, should he finish today's stage, is secure in that polka-dot jersey for another day. 

 

Fonseca can look forward to winning 1 KOM-point and visit his hometown Ile-et-Vilaine after 66 km's. #TDF2016 and perhaps the intermediate.

@veloropa Mon, 4th Jul 2016 10:17:46

One rider that will be hoping for a much less eventful day will be Alberto Contador. The Tinkoff rider crashed heavily on stage one and was then involved in another fall yesterday, where he landed on the same injured shoulder. He ended up losing time in the lumpy finish to boot. 

 

The gap to Fonseca is growing rapidly. The Fortuneo rider has 5:50 on the bunch now. 

 

Après 15km, Fonseca possède 6'30" d'avance / After 15km, Fonseca is leading solo with 6'30" on the pack #TDF2016 https://t.co/RakpTadrzs

@LeTour Mon, 4th Jul 2016 10:28:14

Before we do hit the top of that one and only climb, this is how the mountains classification looks. 

 

1 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 4 pts
2 Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18 2
3 Vegard Breen (Nor) Fortuneo - Vital Concept 1
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Team 1

 

After losing time yesterday, Mark Cavendish swapped yellow for green. He is just keeping it warm for Sagan, who leads the classification.

 

 

 

This is the points classification as of this morning. 

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 87 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 63
3 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 50
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 40
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 33
6 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie 25
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 21
8 Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18 20
9 Leigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling 20
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 20

 

198km remaining from 223km

Fonseca is making his way down the descent of the Côte de Villedieu-les-Poêles his gap over the peloton is still 6:30.

 

The one classification that we haven't looked at yet is the young rider's classification. Julian Alaphilippe is in control of that but he has some strong riders snapping at his heels in Kelderman, Yates and Barguil. 

 

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 4:20:51
2 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange
4 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
5 Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre - Merida 0:00:11
6 Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:17
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18
8 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
9 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
10 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre - Merida 0:00:35

 

An updated time check now has Fonseca at 11:05 over the peloton after just 25km. There is no interest in the peloton to chase with still 184km to the finish. 

 

On-board footage has been getting bigger in professional cycling and this year the Tour de France organisers have been giving us live on-board footage. You can find highlights of that footage here, including images of Contador's second crash in as many days. 

 

Jasper Stuyven in the polka-dot jersey talking to the press before the start. No polka-dot shorts thankfully. 

 

 

The average speed for Fonseca over the first hour of racing was 38.4kph. 

 

183km remaining from 223km

Fonseca's is beginning to fade. After a maximum of just over 11 minutes, it is now down to 8:40 as the Tinkoff-led peloton begin to pull him back. 

 

The official race feed reports that Direct Energie are wearing black arm bands in honour of the former Vendee U rider Romain Guyot who died during a training accident in March of this year. Guyot, who was 23, was from today's finish town of Angers. 

 

Peter Sagan's Specialized Venge ViAS - Gallery https://t.co/ll118aP0k1 https://t.co/tk5jAoGI86

@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 4th Jul 2016 11:20:11

After 44km, the gap to Fonseca is still tumbling down. It is now down to 7:50.

 

Today's stage will pass near the home town of breakaway rider Fonseca. Vitre, which the peloton passes through at the 117km mark, is just 30 minutes down the road from Fonseca's home of Rennes. Rennes is also the base for Fonseca's team Fortuneo-Vital Concept, double the reason to make it into today's break. AG2R La Mondiale rider Maxime Daniel, who is not competing at the Tour, is also from Rennes. 

 

The peloton continues to claw back the gap to Fonseca. He now has just 6:25 on the bunch. 

Chris Froome is sitting just 14 seconds off the top of the standings after the opening weekend. Cyclingnews spoke to him this morning before the riders rolled out of Granville. You can read his full comments here.

 

“It’s another tricky uphill finish,” he said of stage 3.

“We’ve got to be careful there. Again, it could be a stage like yesterday where you’re not looking to gain time but you don’t want to lose time. Then there are seven, eight and nine when we’re already up in the mountains. That’s where the race really starts for us. So far our climbers have not had to do much, apart from stay out of trouble and look after themselves. Hopefully they will be fresh for those stages.”

 

151km remaining from 223km

With 151 kilometres to go, Fonseca's lead has fallen to 5:50. 

 

Remember you can give us your own race predictions on twitter via @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS

 

As we mentioned earlier, Tom Boonen was the victor when the Tour de France last had a stage finish in Angers in 2004. Boonen avoided a crash in the final kilometre to beat Stuart O'Grady in the sprint. That was Boonen's first ever stage win at the Tour de France and the first of two in that year's race. 

 

 

@SadhbhOS @Cyclingnewsfeed the gorilla today wins...needs to get his grand tour win

Andre Greipel is a prolific Grand Tour stage winner and almost always wins at least one stage. The last time that he entered a Grand Tour and failed to win a stage was the 2007 Vuelta a Espana. So that's 10 consecutive Grand Tours with at least one win. He dominated the sprints in last year's Tour de France with four victories including one on the Champs Elysees. This season, he claimed three at the Giro d'Italia before calling it a day ahead of stage 13. 

 

Fonseca's pace has dropped - he covered a modest 30km in the second hour of racing. 

 

Average speed for the day so far is 34.2km/h

148km remaining from 223km

Just over 75km covered and Fonseca's advantage stands at 7 minutes.

 

The riders are, rather slowly, making their way south and have now entered the Brittany region of France - home region of Fonseca and his team. 

 

Brittany is a major cycling heartland in France but the Tour is only paying a fleeting visit this year - the riders will spend all of 70km there before exiting for today's finish in Angers, in the Pay de la Loire region. 

We're in for a long day out. The riders are currently around 20 minutes behind schedule #TDF2016

@SadhbhOS Mon, 4th Jul 2016 12:27:28

Fonseca takes on some food before taking on some undulating roads into Fougères. His lead has dropped to 5:15.

 

Here's a shot of our gallant breakaway man enjoying a downhill stretch - pic from former pro and French TV pundit Cedric Vasseur

 

The peloton has just passed through Fougères where Mark Cavendish won his single victory of last year's race. The 26th Tour de France stage of his career. 

 

Mark Cavendish increased his number of stage wins to 27 with his victory on day one and he could bump that up by another in Angers today. We spoke to him this morning about his prospects  in Angers. 

 

"It’s not going to be an easy finish but we’ll give it a go. The team’s in good spirits after winning stage one and having the yellow jersey for a day," he said.

"The finish is not as technical as people think but it’s one you’re going to have to ride it right to win. Timing your sprint is going to be key today.


“There are a few stages that could also finish in a sprint and across the whole Dimension Data team we’ve got a good shot on lots of days. We’ll be looking for more success.


“It was a nice day yesterday. It was of my best memories ever.”

 

@SadhbhOS tough call, but I think Etixx win the positioning battle and @marcelkittel gets the win. Groenewengen to sneak a podium maybe?

@tomdouglas16 Mon, 4th Jul 2016 12:14:46

123km remaining from 223km

The peloton are making their way through the feed zone at the moment. There is no impetus in the bunch at the moment but that gap still continues to come down. With 123 remaining, Fonseca has just 3:33 on the bunch. 

 

Before taking the start in Granville this morning German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) spoke to the press about.

“It’s going to be a very long day: more than 220 kilometres and the neutralized part. In the end you need to save as much energy as possible to be fresh there," said Kittel. "The final is very technical with a lot of corners. One has to be in front rather early in order to be in front at the finish. The position is the key to success today.”

During the second stage Kittel was also involved in the crash that took down Alberto Contador (Tinkoff). “I’m fine. I have a small wound on my knee. My hand is a little bit bruised. It’s nothing that should influence me on the bike.”

Kittel still dreams of the green jersey. “Sagan already has a big gap in the points classification. I’ll definitely sprint at the intermediate. I did it the last days and still have it on my mind. If you look at the results it’s already quite a gap with Peter winning yesterday but there is still hope for it. I’m not giving up now already.”

The riders are not yet at the halfway point and the average speed is still ticking along at a relatively sedate pace of 33kph. This means that they are still well behind the slowest predicted time schedule. They're almost 30 minutes down on that slow schedule. 

 

Lawson Craddock is making his debut at the Tour de France with Cannondale-Drapac. He says the first two days have been as crazy as he expected. 

"It’s been amazing so far. Our main objective has been keeping Pierre Rolland up there and out of trouble and we did that. The team has meshed well together quickly and if there’s a race when you need that, it’s this one. We’re looking to the rest of the race," he told Cyclingnews.


“Yeah, for sure. You always hear stories about how stressful this race is and it’s defintley lived up to my expectations. But it’s an incredible experience being here.

 

Peter Sagan is looking comfortable in his yellow jersey. He's up near the front chatting and joking with his teammates. 

 

Elsewhere, Chloe Hosking has won Stage 3 of the Giro Rosa. That's the second win for Wiggle-High5 in this year's race. 

 

Mark Cavendish is in the green jersey today but he's actually sitting second in the overall classification. He has won it in the past but says that it will be tough to end Peter Sagan's run of victories in that competition. 

 

“I’m wearing the green jersey but I’m just looking after it for Sagan, that’s why I don’t have any green accessories. I’d love to wear it by right and have a go at winning it but I know I’ve got to get it before the mountains because Sagan can go for the intermediate points in the hills. Peter is strong, he doesn’t really struggle and I doubt he’ll crash out, so it’s very difficult to beat him in the points competition.”

 

We have now passed the halfway point of today's stage and after dipping below three minutes, Fonseca's gap has grown out again. It's not much, though, at just 3:17.

 

There's no polka-dot shorts or bike for Jasper Stuyven today but he has made his own polka-dot shoes. InCycle's Rose Manley took this picture of his Bontrager shoes with the red dots put on with a marker pen.

 

 

104km remaining from 223km

Despite it being a week day, there are huge crowds lining the streets to cheer on the riders as they go by. Still 104 to go until the finish in Angers.

 

#TDF2016 Relaxed atmosphere in the bunch, there is time to chat. https://t.co/gGskjhIKrq

@Lotto_Soudal Mon, 4th Jul 2016 13:29:54

Fonseca is distancing the peloton again as the pace eases up. He has more than four minutes on the bunch. The peloton will be happy to let him burn himself out up there for a little while longer before they consider the bunch finish. 

 

If you missed the news yesterday, Giant-Alpecin confirmed that they have a new sponsor for next season and they will make the announcement on the first rest day next Monday. You can read the full story here

 

Fonseca's advantage is growing still and he has 4:23. He started the day at 3:06 behind Peter Sagan so is therefore the virtual leader for the moment. He's still got 94km to the finish, however.

 

93km remaining from 223km

Tom Dumoulin joking in the bunch. The Dutchman feigns a yawn as the peloton plods along at a slow pace. 

 

Stage one winner, Mark Cavendish says that timing your sprint right will be key in today's finish.

"It’s not going to be an easy finish but we’ll give it a go. The team’s in good spirits after winning stage one and having the yellow jersey for a day. The finish is not as technical as people think but it’s one you’re going to have to ride it right to win. Timing your sprint is going to be key today.


“There are a few stages that could also finish in a sprint and across the whole Dimension Data team we’ve got a good shot on lots of days. We’ll be looking for more success.”

 

87km remaining from 223km

After little to no action in the bunch for most of the day, Thomas Voeckler has shot off the front after indicating his intentions to the peloton. He's got a 5:27 gap to bridge to Fonseca but he's got 87km to do it. 

 

Without having t inject much pace, Voeckler has already distanced the peloton by two minutes. He is 3:35 behind our race leader Fonseca. 

 

Andre Greipel is one of the contenders for victory today, this is what he had to say this morning. 

 

“It’s the second chance for the sprinters. That’s why I’m here. The first stage was very nervous and very fast. It’s good for the spectators that the final kilometres are spectacular but I prefer them to be more straightforward. The final corner is quite wide. The corners before the final one are equally important.

 

“There’s a lot of good sprinters here. Nobody gives a centimetre for free. It’s always a hard battle to get a good position for the sprint. Hopefully we have the luck on our side to get me in a good position. Saturday’s finish suited Cavendish really well. The sprint was 76 km/h. With his track legs he was always one of my favourites, also for the upcoming stages.”

 

80km remaining from 223km

Fonseca finally has someone to talk to after around 140km alone as Voeckler joins up with him. They've got 4:47 on the bunch. 

 

If you were in any doubt of the relaxed atmosphere in the peloton today, here are some photos from today's start village. 

 

 

 

Voeckler going off the front has sparked some interest from the bunch. Lotto-Soudal and Etixx-QuickStep know that the Frenchman is a risk and have pulled the gap back a bit to 3:30. 

 

The pace is visibly much higher now as the peloton strings out in a long like. They're ticking along at 45kph, which is significantly faster than the average speed of the bunch.

 

Back in 2004 the Tour de France also had a stage finishing in Angers with a young Tom Boonen winning the bunch sprint. Jérôme Pineau finished in the top-10. This morning Cyclingnews talked with the recently retired Frenchman at the start about the finish. "It's not to be underestimated. It's slightly uphill. The final kilometres used to be very technical too but this time around it's easier," Pineau said. 

 

67km remaining from 223km

Julian Vermote peels off the front for Etixx-QuickStep to give way for Lars Bak. The Lotto-Soudal rider has had a tough route to the Tour de France after fracturing his shoulder blade at the end of the Giro d'Italia. 

 

Bak's pace is doing some damage to this gap and the peloton are just 2:12 behind the two leaders.

 

Dimension Data has sent Daniel Teklehaimanot to the front of proceedings to help with the chase as Vermote also moves back up. We're getting to the pointy end of this stage. 

 

As we do get closer to the finish, don't forget to let us know your predictions. You can do that on twitter on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS

 

In 10 kilometers, the escapees will contest the intermediate sprint. #TDF2016

@Etixx_QuickStep Mon, 4th Jul 2016 14:37:39

There are several of potential victors today but the three that stand out most are Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel. Peter Sagan is not a pure sprinter but his victory on stage 2 shows that he is in great form and after winning in the rainbow jersey he would love to win in yellow.

 

Let's not forget Alexander Kristoff or John Degenkolb. Bryan Coquard looked out of sorts yesterday but could be a dark horse, as could Eduard Theuns. Ordinarily, Sam Bennett would also be up there in the mix but he looks to be suffering badly after that stage one crash. 

 

In today's road book today's finish does not look too steep but it is a reasonable drag to the line and it could catch some people out. 

 

 

The leaders are approaching the intermediate sprint and they're only 1:18 ahead of the chasing pack now. 

 

Fonseca takes the breakaway through the intermediate sprint with little challenge. A minute later, the sprinters go head to head as a small preview of what we might expect at the finish. Kittel claims the points for second with Kiristoff just behind him. 

 

Fonseca takes the breakaway through the intermediate sprint with little challenge. A minute later, the sprinters go head to head as a small preview of what we might expect at the finish. Kittel claims the points for second with Kristoff just behind him.

Voeckler is trying to up the pace in the break but Fonseca is tiring after so long in front. The sprinter's teams have this at hand and it looks extremely unlikely that the leading pair will hold out. 

 

48km remaining from 223km

1:17 for the escapees as the peloton knock it off again. The leaders are riding along at 49kph while the peloton is a little slower at 40kph. 

 

Yesterday, stage winner and new yellow jersey, Peter Sagan had a dig at riders not showing respect in the sprints. Bernhard Eisel agrees with the Slovakian, saying that the fight for position has become ridiculous. You can read his comments here

 

42km remaining from 223km

Just 37 seconds now for the two leaders. The peloton won't want to catch them too soon and waste all that energy they've saved by chasing down lots of attacks. 

 

A nice picture of the peloton earlier on today.

 

37km remaining from 223km

The peloton will soon be able to see the escapees up the road very soon. Etixx-QuickStep's Vermote leads a large group of Lotto-Soudal riders and between them they have cut that gap a little bit more to 31 seconds. 

 

Earlier, I mentioned a long list of riders that could be in contention in the sprint. One rider that wasn't mentioned but could still pose a threat is Greg Van Avermaet. The Belgian told Cyclingnews this morning that he might have a go as it wasn't a straightforward finish, which could help him get one over on the pure sprinters. 

 

Orica-BikeExchange teammates Michael Matthews and Simon Gerrans could also do something here. Matthews was their man yesterday but he could only manage fifth. 

 

@SadhbhOS Kittel, Griepel, Sagan. But I'd like Cav to get another!

@PeteCuzz Mon, 4th Jul 2016 15:10:14

Sam Bennett is sitting near the back of the peloton. He took a very hard tumble when Michael Morkov crashed in the stage one finale. The Bora-Argon 18 rider will be happy to make it through the next few stages and hopefully find some success a little later in the race. 

 

30km remaining from 223km

The riders are finally into the last 30km of this stage and the leaders and just 28 seconds. The pace is still relatively sedate but we can expect to see it pick up very soon. 

 

How Kittel out-sprinted the Peloton in the intermediate sprint. #TDFdata #TDF2016 https://t.co/ckciPlvfZF

@letourdata Mon, 4th Jul 2016 15:28:21

The GC teams such as Sky are making their presence felt near the front, as they try to keep their leaders safe. 

 

22km remaining from 223km

Julian Vermote is back at the head of the peloton. He's done a lot of work for Marcel Kittel today, not that the peloton has been going terribly fast. The 26-year-old has been with Etixx-QuickStep since he turned professional in 2011 and has worked for many top sprinters including Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen. 

 

19km remaining from 223km

As the speed increases, Voeckler's array of facial expressions really gets going. He and Fonseca have added to their advantage but it's coming back down once again as the peloton springs into action. 

 

last 500m are uphill. #EtixxQuickstep pull on the front, but will it be a finish for #Kittel or #Sagan, or even #BoassonHagen? #TDF2016

@BoraArgon18 Mon, 4th Jul 2016 15:37:41

16km remaining from 223km

This finale is pretty rolling and the peloton is stretching out under the strain. We're back down to just under 30 seconds between the two groups but the peloton are unlikely to make the catch just yet. They'd prefer to keep it until the final 10km.

 

Contador and Froome are near the front of the peloton, trying to stay out of trouble. Contador has had a troubled first few days and he will want to make it through today without any more issues. 

 

14km remaining from 223km

The peloton is really charging now as the speed goes over 50kph and it is increasing. 

 

11km remaining from 223km

16 seconds now for the two escapees. 

 

Stephen Cummings is keeping himself out of trouble in his favoured position of the back of the bunch. 

 

10km remaining from 223km

Voeckler is really trying to keep this break going but with 10km to go it will be a tough ask. He's a good breakaway rider but he has the might of some pretty determined sprinters' teams.  

 

The peloton can see the break now. Their day is all but done.

 

Orica and Katusha are making their first appearances on the front along with LottoNL-Jumbo as the two escapees are finally caught. 

 

Dylan Groenewegen has been sick in the past few days but he could do something in this finish. 

 

Direct Energie are being led to the front by Sylvain Chavanel, as they try to set up Bryan Coquard. 

 

6km remaining from 223km

There is a lot of interest at the front here and things are getting a little frantic as the bunch moves all over the road. 

 

There is some traffic furniture to navigate in this finish.

 

5km remaining from 223km

IAM Cycling are up at the front now. They have Leigh Howard, who was a late call-up for the Tour de France. 

 

Navadauskas has dragged the Cannondale team up to the front.

 

4km remaining from 223km

Dimension Data and IAM Cycling are behind Cannondale at the front as Etixx and Trek move back. 

 

3km remaining from 223km

The peloton has split under this frantic pace. Lotto-Soudal are fighting their way back up as are Etixx. They both lost position in the last couple of kilometres. 

 

Cancellara now on the front, working for Theuns.

 

2km remaining from 223km

Cofidis are trying to muscle their way to the front. They are without Bouhanni at this TOur de France. 

 

Crash

 

1km remaining from 223km

Looks like one of the Orica riders went down and the group has split in two. 

 

1km remaining from 223km

Etixx push on, with Kittel in the third wheel. Dimension Data just behind them. 

 

The road rises up as they go under the flamme rouge

 

Greipel leads it out

 

Cavendish is in his wheel

 

Photo finish

 

That was a very close finish. He doesn't know if he's won yet as the media surrounds him.

 

A replay shows that Cavendish has got that on the bike throw by little more than a tyre's width. 

 

Greipel actually celebrated that but the confirmation has come through that it is Cavendish that has won the stage. My gosh that was so close. 

 

Kittel was well out of position in that sprint and he finished well down. Coquard edged out Sagan to take third place.

 

Cavendish is finally told about his result and says 'I can't believe it'

 

Confirmation of the results at the finish

 

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
5 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo

That stage win means that Cavendish is equal with Hinault on 28 Tour de France stage wins. 

 

Cavendish has not looked his best through much of this year but his two victories show that he has found his form at just the right time. The Manxman has looked close to his former best in this opening week. 

 

Let this be a lesson: when your sprint has fallen flat, go back to the track. You shall find speed once again.

@Laura_Weislo Mon, 4th Jul 2016 16:05:07

This is Cavendish as he waited for confirmation of the stage result.

 

Confirmation of the general classification. Peter Sagan managed to hold onto his yellow jersey. 

 

General classification after stage 3
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 14:34:36
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:00:08
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:10
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:14
5 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Team
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step

 

Cavendish steps up onto the podium with his two children to accept the prize for being the stage winner. 

 

Great work in the final kilometres today by @LukeRowe1990. He's just been greeted by friends and family #TDF2016 https://t.co/SWKSZo9lox

@TeamSky Mon, 4th Jul 2016 16:13:33

Mark Renshaw had this to say at the finish: "It’s working well, we won two stages but it’s not perfect. We have a limited team here, only five riders including Cavendish for the finish. Everybody knows their job. We have great riders in Edvald Boasson Hagen and Janse Van Rensburg so a great team and once the ball starts rolling then it just keeps going. He’s on a high and now the team is also."

 

Speaking as he warmed down, Greipel told the press that he made a mistake going into a higher gear in the finale. 

 

"I think the last 6km were quite messy with a lot of corners, there wasn’t a lot of organisation. It was really hard to stay together with the team and I just tried to stay somewhere near the front," he said. "With Jurgen Roelandts, in the end he brought me into a really good position and I think I just made one mistake and it was a kind of reflex to go into the biggest gear. If I had kept it in the gear I had then I think I would have made it."

 

He also had this to say about the slow pace today: "I think maybe everybody was a bit tired after yesterday, everybody was a bit nervous because we’ve had a lot of fighting in the bunch. It was not a stage to gain any points so everybody relaxed. I didn’t think that I wished for a faster stage than today."

 

Thomas Voeckler got the combativity prize after making it into the day's break. He talks to the press in the mixed zone behind the podium.

 

 

Mark Cavendish was understandably delighted after taking his second stage win and moving into the lead of the points competition. 

 

“I normally know when I won or I lose. When I crossed the line, I kind of knew I got it today but anything can happen. I knew I had to come from behind. I wanted to be behind Greipel to launch my sprint. He took me by surprise but I'm happy I did it. My teammates were phenomenal. It's superb for Dimension Data. We came here we made our sponsors proud.”

 

We have full results from today's stage on line and a growing gallery and report. Check it all out here

 

Peter Sagan arriving at his press conference as the yellow jersey wearer. He began his press conference with a plea to the UCI asking for them to extend the three kilometre rule. 

 

 

A selection of quote from the finish of today's stage can be found here. That is it from us today. Tune in tomorrow for coverage of stage 4 of the Tour de France. 

 

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