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Tour de France 2017: Stage 3

Live coverage of the third stage of the Tour de France, which takes in three countries and packs a punch with an uphill finish in Longwy.

 

Tour de France race hub

Stage 3 preview

Stage 2 report: Kittel sprints to 10th Tour victory

Start list

 

Good morning, and a warm welcome to Cyclingnews’ live race centre for stage 3 of the Tour de France.

 

And today the race hits France for the first time. After the opening time trial in Germany’s Dusseldorf, and yesterday’s stage 2 finish in Belgium’s Liège, today we head from Belgium and down through Luxembourg on our way to France for a puncheur’s finale just over the border in Longwy.

The crowds have gathered, the riders and teams have arrived, and the coffee is flowing in the village départ. 

 


The riders will roll out of Verviers at 12.15 local time. So, in an hour's time. 

 

Plenty of crowds out this morning in Verviers

 

Marcel Kittel made history yesterday by becoming the first rider to win a stage of the Tour de France on disc brakes. Our tech guru, Josh Evans, tells me that no one is using discs today, with much dryer weather on the cards. 

 

Here is Kittel's rim-brake bike for today, with some modifications to celebrate his time in the green jersey. 

 

 

Speaking of Kittel, now's your chance to catch up on all of yesterday's action. Report, full results, video highlights, photo gallery - it's all in here:

 

Tour de France: Kittel sprints to stage 2 victory 

 

Turning our attentions to today's stage, there are five categorised climbs but the all-important one comes right at the very end. Once on French soil, the race will conclude with the 1.6km dash up the Côte des Religieuses to Longwy's citadel.

 

Rising in an S-bend, the climb averages 5.8% but there are pitches of 11% in the middle. The likes of Peter Sagan and Philippe Gilbert should thrive, while this is also a finale that's set to draw out the GC favourites. 

 

For a full preview, packed full of history courtesy of our friends at Procycling magazine, click here

'Sky accused of cheating'

 

French daily sports newspaper, L'Equipe, owned by Tour de France organisers, ASO, is essential reading each morning at the Tour. Today, they've gone in hard on Team Sky, with a front page splash that reads 'Excess of speed', and a full report inside titled 'Sky accused of cheating'.

 

They're making the most of the controversy surrounding the skinsuits worn by the British team on the opening day time trial, where they placed four riders in the top 8, with Geraint Thomas winning the stage and Chris Froome putting a surprising amount of time into his rivals. 

 

We had a full take on the story yesterday, featuring complaints from FDJ coach Fred Grappe, defence from Sky's DS Nico Portal, and clarification from the UCI commissaires. You can find it here

 

 

.@DanMartin86 "Philippe, Stybar... on a plusieurs cartes à jouer / we have several cards to play" #TDF2017 https://t.co/2QUaBmYHwd

@LeTour Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 09:28:48

 

We're just 15 minutes away from the start of the stage. Most riders have been up to the podium to sign on for the day. 

 

Taylor Phinney is in the polka-dots after his day in the break yesterday. He has one white bottle cage and one red one today. 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how things stand on GC

 

1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 4:53:10
2 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:05
3 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:06
4 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 0:00:07
5 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:10
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
7 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:15
8 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 0:00:16
10 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb

 

They're off

 

Maillot jaune Geraint Thomas and the other jersey wearers lead the riders across the start line. We have a neutralised section to cover before the race proper gets underway. 

Stage 3 starts, 10min parade out of Verviers to KM0. More chance of fight for breakaway rather than a simple "au revoir" from bunch #TDF2017

@inrng Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 10:20:33

The flag drops and we're racing. 

 

A Wanty rider is the first to kick off hostilities on a day that should see plenty wanting to be in the break. 

Thomas De Gendt, a true breakaway specialist, leads the line as the peloton strings out. He succeeds in dragging several riders with him and there's a small split to the bunch behind. 

 

210km remaining from 212km

Nothing sticking for De Gendt but now Sylvain Chavanel comes to the front and tries to make something happen. 

 

Three riders are trying to make use of a gentle downhill stretch to carve out an advantage. 

 

It's looking good for the trio as the peloton eases up. 

The leading trio is: Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), and Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro).

 

Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) is in between them and the bunch. 

 

Maybe the peloton hasn't sat up... more riders are forcing the issue now. 

 

Cannondale and Wanty have thrown men up to join Sicard in a three-man counter. The peloton is spread across the road and the gap is starting to go out again. 

 

Nathan Brown (Canndonale-Drapac) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) are the riders with Sicard in the chasing trio. 

 

The leading riders approach the first climb of the day.

 

Côte de Sart (Category 4)

2.8km

5.1% 
 

 

The two three-man groups have come together to give us a breakaway of six, with a lead of 1:45 - and growing - over the peloton, where the riders are now chatting and taking it easy. 

 

Team Sky's Christian Knees leads the peloton up the climb. Sky have pretty much their whole team at the front, with Quick-Step throwing a man in there and Bora lending Juraj Sagan to the cause. 

 

Brown takes flight and sprints to the KOM banner at the top of the climb. Hardy follows but can't get on terms. It's Brown's teammate, Taylor Phinney who is in the lead of mountains classification but that could change today. 

Will the break make it all the way?

 

There are undulating roads all day long and, at 212.5km, it's going to be a leg sapping day for anyone who wants to control the peloton. Sky, with Thomas in yellow, could afford to take a bit more of a back seat, though there are plenty of riders who will fancy the stage win today, and will commit their teams to the front. Sagan, Matthews, Gilbert, Van Avermaet - to name but four incredibly strong candidates. 

 

We caught up with Matthews this morning. 



"I think it’s a better opportunity than it was for me yesterday. It’s an uphill kick. It’s a 2km climb in the final. I think it suits my characteristics and obviously we’re going to go for it," he said. 

 

"I think there are a lot of guys that it suits. It’s a punchy climb obviously. I think it’s going to be pretty be pretty open and it will be interesting to see what happens, but at the end of the day I think we [Matthews, Sagan and Gilbert] are the three favourites. I’ve been training for a finish like this so I think we have the team to support me and I’ll see what I can do."

189km remaining from 212km

There's a novelty on today's route in the form of a trip to the Spa Francochamps motor racing circuit. The riders are currently enjoying the smooth tarmac. 

Matthews said he was one of three favourites, along with Sagan and Gilbert. And it's their respective teams who have put men at the front of the bunch. As a result the gap to the break remains slim, with just 2 minutes between the two groups. 

 

180km remaining from 212km

1:55 is the gap as Sky, helped by Quick-Step, Bora, and Sunweb, continue to set a decent pace in the peloton. A frustrating one for the break. 

 

Phinney is in the polka-dots today and loving every second, you'd imagine. Considering the journey he's been on, he was on cloud nine after his breakaway effort yesterday and, in true Phinney style, referenced the Japanese novelist Hakuri Murakami in the post-race mixed zone. Here's our story:

 

Phinney: It felt like a dream out there

 

170km remaining from 212km

The break plough on but the gap remains stable at 1:55. 

 

This year's big Tour de France treat - driving the Spa F1 circuit which is part of the course https://t.co/Tq9YevWct3

@DickinsonTimes Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 11:12:53

 

It is warm and sunny today, quite a change from the previous two days.

 Many are called, but few or chosen. Or: everyone sprints for the win, but only can take the victory. You have read about winner Marcel Kittel and now you can read about why a handful of others didn't win.

Sunweb, QuickStep and Bora each with a rider at the front of the field. Plus of course the whole Sky team.

 

Jan Ullrich. Remember him? He was not officially invited to this year's Tour de France, but attended. And spoke to the press, too.

 

148km remaining from 212km

After 148 km, the gap has crept up to just over two minutes. 

 

Now we have only a Bora rider ahead of the entire Sky team at the front of the field.

 

We are about to leave Belgium! The peloton is entering Luxembourg in less than 1 km.

 

Only 36 hours after surgery, ALejandro Valverde is already receiving physical therapy and moving the injured knee. Or having it moved, at any rate.

 

What's a team to do when it loses its GC candidate in the first stage? Bahrain-Merida had to face that situation. Time to rethink all plans and look for stage wins, is what they came up with.

 

Yesterday's break group gap was never very large, but it was still a struggle for the field to bring them back, catching them practically within sight of the 1 km marker. The field doesn't want to have to do that today, and is holding this group very strictly at around the two minute mark.

 

The indomitable Adam Hansen is in this break group, in his 387th straight Grand Tour. Or something lilke that.

 

124km remaining from 212km

The leaders are approaching the intermediate sprint at Wincrange. 

It's Nils Politt who surges clear to take the points with ease. 

 

Back in the peloton, FDJ lead out Demare but it's Cavendish who bags the bulk of the remaining points, ahead of Swift, Colbrelli, and Sagan. 

118km remaining from 212km

The peloton is passing through the feed zone. There's a fairly stiff side wind but the riders are more concerned at the moment with taking on supplies. 

We spoke to Greg Van Avermaet this morning, and he's hoping today could be a day for him, even if he sees himself as more of an underdog. 

 

"It’s good chance and I hope to be there. When the road book came out this was my biggest goal after the stage to Rodez. Lets see what I can do. I need to show that I’m good.

 

"The main goal for me this year was the Classics and for Richie it was the Tour. That was clear from the start of the season. That means the whole team aren’t behind me today. Maybe that’s a disadvantage but it also means I’m more relaxed. There was a lot of stress in the Classics. Other guys have more pressure than me.

 

"The best wheel to follow? Matthews. I think it’s a good finish for him. Everyone says Sagan but I say Matthews."

 

The break are climbing again, and this is the toughest ascent on today's route. 

 

It's the Côte d'Eschdorf, it's 2.3km long, and has an average of 9.3%.

 

Here comes the fight for the KOM points in the break. Backaert is the one who takes the initiative but he's closely tracked by Politt. Brown gives chase but can't get near and Politt manages to pip Backaert at the last. 

Politt has pressed on over the top of the climb and he has been joined by Brown. 

 

Apologies, I gave you the wrong climb just then. The riders have just done the Côte de Wiltz, a mere fourth-category ascent of just over 3km. In just over 10km it will be time for the Côte d'Eschdorf, for real.  

 

A good roll of the dice, this, from Politt and Brown. They have 25 seconds over their former companions. 

 

Politt and Brown will mop up the points atop the Côte d'Eschdorf if they stay away. After that they may link back up with the four other breakaway riders. 

 

As it stands in the KOM competition, Phinney has two points while Politt and Brown have one apiece. 

 

Politt and Brown come down a short descent and now hit the climb. It's short, but steep. 

 

Brown accelerates away but Politt is out of the saddle, chasing. 

Politt fades, leaving Brown to skip away up the climb. 

 

Brown makes his way through the thick banks of fans and passes under the banner to take two more points in the KOM competition. 

 

Politt, nearly a minute back already, comes over to mop up the last remaining point. 

 

Brown (3 points) leads the provisional KOM competition, over Politt (2), and Phinney (2). 

 

91km remaining from 212km

Brown sits up and waits for Politt. There are now more than 75km to the nexxt climb - the fourth-category Côte de Villers-la-Montagne. By then, though, with just over 15km remaining, Brown and the rest of the break may well have been caught by the peloton. 

 

Quick-Step, Bora, and Astana all at the front as the peloton rolls across the top of the climb, now four minutes in arrears after that injection of urgency up ahead. 

 

The break is back up to six as Brown and Politt wait for their former companions. 

The pace has picked up once again in the peloton, with Juraj Sagan on the front. 2:30 is the gap. 

 

We also grabbed a word with Katusha manager Jose Azevedo this morning. He explained that they'd try and get a man in the break - and they have, in Politt - but they'll work for Kristoff if the race comes back together. 



"It’s not a real final for a sprinter. It depends on what happens in the stage goes," he said. "It is possible that a breakaway could go to the final and if it is a big group then we will try to get someone into it. We will see in the final if the race comes back together then we will try to help. Alex It’s not the best final for him but we will try."

Geraint Thomas is in the cars, chasing back on with teammate Christian Knees. Not sure what the problem was there for the race leader. 

For a detailed look at today's parcours, with a visualisation of how the route makes its way across Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, check out our video preview

73km remaining from 212km

1:45 is the gap now. 

Arnaud Demare, second yesterday, is one of those sprinters who can climb, but he thinks the gradients on the final climb will be too much for him. 

 

“It’s too difficult for me but I’ll try nevertheless. I hope to be positioned well and give it all out there. I hope to score points for the green jersey. It’ll be special to enter France in the blue-white-red-jersey.”

66km remaining from 212km

Quick-Step lead the peloton with a man on the front, followed by Juraj Sagan and then the whole Sky team (Thomas is back in, by the way). Behind them, Nairo Quintana and his Movistar teammates are gathering. 

62km remaining from 212km

The breakaway riders are fading here an the impetus and belief seems to be draining. 1 minute is the gap with just over 60km to go. 

Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory yesteday, and Quick-Step have a great chance of more success today, with Philippe Gilbert, Dan Martin, Matteo Trentin, and Zdenek Stybar all candidates on a short finishing climb. 

 

“It’s a benefit for us to have several cards to play. We can attack early with Stybar, or wait for the sprint with Trentin, or with Gilbert,” Quick-Step DS Wilfried Peeters told Cyclingnews this morning. 

 

Trentin himself has a unique chance to grab the maillot jaune. He’s 10 seconds down on Thomas, with 10 bonus seconds on offer for the winner.

 

 

“I don’t know," he said. "I didn’t recon the finish of today’s stage since I don’t live nearby, but in Monaco. I checked several sources and they all show different information regarding the length and gradients. I heard it’s narrow and technical at the foot of the climb so a crash can occur. I’ll try my best."

 

59km remaining from 212km

With the gap down to just 55 seconds, Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) attacks from the peloton with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro). 

There's a hold-up at the back of the peloton after a minor crash. Alexis Vuillermoz needs a bike change. 

 

This six breakaway men

 

 

57km remaining from 212km

Make that nine - Calmejane, De Gendt, and Perichon make the bridge. 

 

The break needed some fresh impetus, and it has it. With a lead of just under a minute and 55km still to race, however, the odds are still heavily stacked against them. 

51km remaining from 212km

The break is splitting up now. De Gendt opens up a gap with Backaert and Perichon. It comes back together but Sicard is struggling. 

 

The difference in freshness is apparent, as De Gendt, Perichon, and Calmejane open up a gap at the head of the race. 

 

Hardy joins the party, while Politt, Brown, and Hansen settle into a chase. 

 

44km remaining from 212km

So, four leaders out in front, and they have stretched out the advantage to 1:35.

 

Sicard and Backaert have sat up and are now caught by the advancing peloton. 

 

Hansen has dropped Politt and Brown and is trying to bridge the gap alone. 

 

Quick-Step, Bora, and Sunweb continue to trade turns on the front of the bunch. If a rider from another team comes up to snatch the win today they won't be best pleased. 

Mechanical for Romain Bardet. Not the best moment, with the pace pretty high in the peloton. 

 

Bardet has Axel Domont and local lad Ben Gastaeur to help him back to the peloton. 

 

A proper counter-attack. Thought they were extinct. #TDF2017

@friebos Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 14:46:09

Bardet makes it back in. 

Quickstep and Sunweb have a rider in the rotation at the front, but they’re certainly not all-in on pursuit yet.

@Cyclocosm Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 14:50:39

Just over 30 to go and Calmejane drives the four-man break onwards. They still have 1:35 over the peloton, where things are starting to pick up a little, with teams getting themselves organised. 

.@L_Calmejane @DeGendtThomas @PerichonPLuc @romainhard ont toujours 1'33" à 30 km de l'arrivée / have still 1'33"… https://t.co/MbBuQY4H29

@LeTour Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 14:54:39

 

Brian Holm: 'Stybar will go with the first who attack. Don't think it's hard enough for Gilbert. We like Trentin for it' #TdF

@DennisPraest Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 14:55:34

The breakaway quartet are still working well together. They have 1:20 with 26km remaining. It's not impossible, but the odds are stacked against them, with the peloton yet to hit full gas.

 

There will b quite a few heads believing they can win today, even the sprinters. But I'm not sure all their legs will agree in the final 500

@mattgoss1986 Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 15:01:31

22km remaining from 212km

De Gendt is losing ground up front as the road rises once again. Hardy is finally suffering too. Calmejane and Perichon crack on. 

Calmejane, Direct Energie's new star (comparisons have been made with a certain Thomas Voeckler), looks really good here, and he drops Perichon to go alone at the head of affairs. 

Hardy and De Gendt are caught by the peloton. 

18km remaining from 212km

Calmejane has a lead of one minute with 18km remaining. It's a brave effort, and he's looking good, but it's surely too big an ask. 

 

Calmejane is on his way up the penultimate climb of the day. It's the fourth-category Côte de Villers-la-Montagne - just over a kilometre long at 5.2%

 

Perichon is caught, leaving us with a lone leader and a chasing peloton. 

 

15km remaining from 212km

Calmejane bursts out of the saddle as he crests the climb but this isn't going his way. The peloton come up just 30 seconds in arrears. 

 

It looks like it's all going to come down to the final dash up to the Longwy Citadel. So let's have a look at the climb. 

The road rises in an S-bend shape - a little like Fleche Wallonne. Positioning, then, will be vital, and the run-in will be frantic. 

It's already getting tense as a few riders come unstuck on a corner. Borut Bozic, MIchael Gogl and a Sky rider are all down briefly. 

 

12km remaining from 212km

Just 10 seconds now for Calmejane.

 

10km remaining from 212km

Peter Sagan moves towards the front now. His Bora team have worked hard today and fully earned his right to go for the victory. BMC and Orica are among the other teams looking to get themselves to the front. 

 

10km remaining from 212km

All together

 

Calmejane's effort comes to an end. 

Trek take it up now. They have John Degenkolb who could win on a finish like today's, but they also have Alberto Contador, and the GC men will certainly want to be well positioned heading into the climb. 

 

BMC come to the front now with Alessandro De Marchi. 

 

Sunweb line up on the left, Quick-Step on the right. Lotto Soudal now making their presence felt through the middle. 

 

6km remaining from 212km

Sky are jostling with BMC now, moving Thomas and Froome up to the front. 

 

This finish will be mayhem.

@nyvelocity Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 15:25:34

5km remaining from 212km

There's a bit of a descent on the way to the final couple of kilometres, with swooping bends, and BMC lead as the bunch strings out. 

 

Michael Schar leads for BMC with Van Avermaet in tow. Stybar is third wheel. 

3km remaining from 212km

The road flattens out and Bora come to the fore.

 

Emmanuel Buchmann leads the way for Bora. It's single file for a good 15 places. 

 

2km remaining from 212km

Burghardt takes it up for Bora with a full-on sprint. 

 

The peloton take a sharp left hander and the road starts rising. 

 

Burghardt, Van Avermaet, Stybar. That's the front three. 

 

And now they start the climb proper. 

 

BMC take it up

 

The first kilometre of this 1.6km climb is the toughest.

 

Stybar taps it out at the front. No attacks yet

 

It's spread across the road as they take on these steep gradients. Kittel is dropped. 

 

1km remaining from 212km

Nico Roche leads for Porte. 

 

Contador is third wheel.

 

Porte accelerates!

 

This is becoming a GC affair as Porte gets a gap!

 

Here comes Sagan

 

Sagan comes round but he won't sprint just yet, with 300 to go. 

 

Problem for Sagan but he opens his sprint now. 

 

Here comes Matthews on the right!

 

Peter Sagan wins stage 3 of the Tour de France

 

Matthews was gaining, but Sagan held on. 

 

Dan Martin took third, with Van Avermaet fourth. There was a bigger gap back to the rest. 

 

That was a remarkable sprint from Sagan. Replays show how his foot slipped out of his pedal as he opened his sprint. That would be curtains for most riders but even as Van Avermaet and Martin drew level, he calmly clipped back in and sprinted away from them once again. Matthews came back fast, but from too far back, and Sagan celebrates his 8th Tour de France stage win. 

 

Top 10

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 5:07:19
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
3 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:02
6 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
8 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
9 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe

 

I'd never use the term easy for any win in a bike race. But Sagan could afford to pull his foot out, put it back and still win. Yikes.

@willfoth Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 15:37:46

Sagan dons his goggles for his snap post-race interview.

 

 

General classification after stage 3



1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 10:00:31
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:12
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:13
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 0:00:16
6 Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:25
7 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:30
8 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:32
9 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:32
10 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:34

 

"What is pressure? I don't know what that is," quips Sagan.

 

"Firstly I want to thank my team - they did an amazing job today, pulling all day. It wasn't easy with the headwind and in the technical parts at the end there was a lot of stress.  

 

"In the end, it was a pretty hard climb. BMC did a very good job for Richie and after he attacked in the last 800 metres he got a little gap and I decided to go, but i caught him too early - with 400 to go. I thought 'fuck, again too early'. Then I started my sprint and I put my foot out from the cleat, and I thought, 'another mistake - what's happening today?' But I started again and i won. Matthews almost beat me. I'm very happy for this victory and thanks to my teammates."

#TDF2017 The jerseys after stage 3 Yellow: Geraint Thomas Green: Marcel Kittel Polka dot: Nathan Brown White: Pierre Latour

@Lotto_Soudal Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 15:49:38

Richie Porte, who lit up that final climb with an attack, speaks at the BMC bus. 

 

"It wasn't at all premeditated," he says. "The guys put me in a fantastic position, and I felt good. But then with 500 metres to go, it was a little far out. It was probably out of the question for me once Sagan came up.
It's good for the team, they were really strong today and it was shame we couldn't finish it off. For the last 40km it was a hell of a fight. I’m happy to come through the day unscathed."

Here's race leader Geraint Thomas, who finished eighth on the stage. 

 

"We went into the climb a little far back so had to move up before the corner as Richie attacked, and we stayed around that position all the way to the line. All the boys were working then Kwiato was last then me to guide Froomey up the last bit.

 

"It was a hectic day. When those three guys got across, the peloton had to speed up a lot. It was not relaxing, so I am happy to get through it with Froomey. One day down, and it's certainly good to get through days like that unscathed."

Here's a first finish line shot

 

 

Want all the post-stage reaction in one handy place? Our stage 3 finish line quotes story is now live.

 

Tour de France: Stage 3 finish line quotes

 

 

List of riders with 8 stage wins at Tour de France: Garrigou, Gaul, Guerri, Hoban, Kübler, Mottiat, Pantani, SAGAN, Vietto #TDF2017

@ammattipyoraily Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 16:17:55

Plenty of photos already in our stage 3 report.

 

Tour de France: Sagan wins long stage in Longwy

 

 

"Overall, it was a really hard stage - the first real effort of the race, going all out," says Dan Martin

 

"I was surprised but happy because I wasn't expecting to sprint so well."

Thibaut Pinot lost over three minutes today. After the Giro he has come here with his sights set on stage wins rather than GC, and, handily enough, stage 5 finishes atop La Planche des Belles Filles, a stone's throw from his home. Did he purposefully lose time today to allow himself a little freedom in the eyes of the GC favourites when it comes to that final climb on Wednesday?

Full results and full report are now in

Tour de France: Sagan wins long stage in Longwy

 

According to the Tour's official data service, Sagan's average speed on the final climb was 28.6km/h.

 

 

Nathan Brown takes over the polka-dots from his teammate Taylor Phinney

 

 

Brown had this to say after taking the polka dot jersey off his teammate's back:

"Dylan [Van Baarle] was the main one to go in the break, and I was going to watch for moves he wasn't in. One went that he didn't make, and I jumped across and it happened to be the one.

[Was there a time when you worried you might not win it?] "There was - especially when it was [Politt] and him and we were tied on points. I didn't know who was going to get it, he was super strong. I knew as long as I could get to the base of the climb with him, I thought I could out-climb him. I didn't want to wait too long so I went pretty early, maybe too early, but it worked out. I'd love to hold onto it for as long as I can. Stage 5 is a bit of a doozy. Obviously we'll go with the team's goals first, and if it has me keeping the jersey I'd love to."

#Izagirre has successfully undergone the surgery for decompression and stabilization of lumbar vertebral fracture… https://t.co/y0KvKCHXoQ

@Bahrain_Merida Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 17:04:35

Always in front, Peter Sagan (BOH) proved (again) he had the power to hold off any rival despite unclipping 200m fr… https://t.co/HbgFlGN056

@letourdata Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 17:29:17

Today's finale proved to be too much for overnight best young rider Stefan Küng, who lost 35 seconds and lost the white jersey. It goes to Pierre Latour (AG2R), who leads by 12 seconds over Alexey Lutsenko (Astana). Küng is third at 13 seconds.

In the USA, it's almost compulsory that citizens don a furry mascot costume at some point in their lives. The White House press secretary was an Easter Bunny at one point, while today's mountains classification leader Nate Brown spent time as the Cookie Monster.

(credit, Phil Gaimon/Twitter)

Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena was pleased with Alberto Contador's ride, following Richie Porte on the attack on the final climb.

"I think that it was good. We know that in the steep finale he needed to be near the front. He was in the wheel of Porte and then it was clear that the stage was more in favour for the fast guys like Sagan. So it made no sense to hold on and then fall back. He just needed to get to the finish in the wheel of the others. They were coming quite fast from behind. The risk was going too hard and then falling back and then there would be gaps," Guercilena said.

Read how American Nate Brown worked to keep the polka dot jersey in the family, here.

Sagan says there's "more to life" than the green jersey, but simply enjoys racing and winning. Read the interview here.

Dan Martin said he was happy with how the stage went, even if he missed out on taking the stage win to Sagan.

"I found the first part of the climb not so hard, but things changed once Richie attacked and lined out the peloton", Martin said. "The sprint was very long and I knew it was very important to bide your time. So I sat on Matthews' wheel and launched my sprint when I sensed everybody was in the red. I never thought I would sprint against those guys, so to get this result at the end of such a hard day makes me very happy and confident. A big shout-out to my teammates, who did everything to bring me in the best position for this finish."
 

Thank you for following today's Tour de France stage with Cyclingnews. Tomorrow is one last day for the sprinters to ply their trade before the first summit finish of the race. We hope you'll join us for our full coverage!

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