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Tour de Romandie 2017: Stage 3

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Full live coverage of stage 3 of the 2017 Tour de Romandie.

 

Hello there, and a warm welcome to Cyclingnews' live race centre for stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie. It's certainly warmer in here than it is out there, with plenty more snow falling in Switzerland falling overnight. Today's stage, based in Payerne, will still go ahead as planned, however. 

Here's what we can expect

The 149 riders left in the peloton have just set out and the stage is underway.

Plenty of layers needed again today...

Here come the attacks. There are four third-category climbs on the menu today, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Lotto Soudal's Sander Armée, leader of the KOM classification, got himself in the break for a third day in a row. 

Nothing is sticking in these early kilometres, despite a number of attempts, and the peloton is lined out at high speed. 

Here's a slightly confusing map of where we're heading today. Essentially, we start and finish in Payerne, with four different loops in between. 

175km remaining from 187km

The seven men in the break are:

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As the race situation settles down, why not catch up on what happened yesterday. The stage was shortened due to snow, and many riders were telling tales of how they couldn't feel their fingers or toes all day long. It was a miserable one, that's for sure, and in the end the break made it all the way, whereupon Stefan Küng took the honours on home soil. Here's the full write-up, with full results and plenty of photos. 

There was plenty of speculation that today's stage might also be curtailed, but that won't be the case. Here's a photo taken this morning by Katusha-Alpecin mechanic, Bjorn Neyt. 

Prologue winner Fabio Felline is still the race leader and it's his Trek-Segafredo teammates who are leading the peloton. Of the breakaway riders, Houle is the best-placed GC-wise at 3:35. 

162km remaining from 187km

Despite the four climbs, today's stage should culminate in a bunch sprint, especially if the peloton continues to keep the escapees on a short leash. 

Speaking of Viviani, Sky announced their Giro d'Italia line-up this morning, and the Italian wasn't in it. The British squad have opted to select a team built entirely around the general classification ambitions of Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa, with no room for a sprinter. 

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I'd say I've covered a good 20 metres (the kettle and back) since the stage began. 

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The riders are passing through the first feed zone. Another 30 or so kilometres remain before the first ascent of the day - the third-category Mont-Vully.

Another rider Daniel Benson has spoken to out in Switzerland is Simon Yates. The Briton has had his race programme changed as a result of Esteban Chaves' knee injury and, after originally being put down for the Giro, he'll now be heading to the Tour de France in July. Here's his take on the decision:

A shot of the break from the Astana team car as they passed through the finish line for the first time. 

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This race was once seen as the ideal final preparation race ahead of the Giro d'Italia. There are a couple of contenders for the pink jersey here, but have they made it into our '10 riders to watch' video? 

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Trek and Bahrain are the two teams doing the bulk of the work on the front of the peloton. Trek taking responsibility for the leader's jersey on the shoulders of Felline, Bahrain clearly confident in Colbrelli today. 

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None of the seven riders had any KOM points coming into today's stage and, with a maximum of 20 available today, they won't be any threat to Sander Armée, who sits atop the standings on 39 points. 

91km remaining from 187km

All of the riders were suffering in the cold yesterday, and De Gendt, who is currently keeping warm up front in the breakaway, tweeted the below message to the UCI, suggesting they should get some fresh air whilst following the riders.

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Yesterday's runner up Andriy Grivko is about to serve a 45 day ban for a dust up with Marcel Kittel in the Dubai Tour earlier this year. But he thinks Kittel should also serve a ban. You can read all of what the Astana rider had to say in this story.

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Up in our breakaway, Toms Skujins is the rider who has given Cannondale-Drapac its only win of the year so far - stage 2 of the Coppi e Bartali. The Latvian is making himself into the Jens Voigt of the current generation - always going on the attack.

The weather is a bit better for the riders on today's stage - it's still quite cold, but not bitterly so, and dry at the moment. This has to be a boost to the peloton's morale.

The weather has been causing havoc for the television producers this week as bad conditions have grounded the helicopters. Currently French TV is showing a man painting a picture of a pig on a bike.

The leaders will soon make their way up the pair of category 3 climbs that punctuate the parcours - the Grandsivas and the Lovens, which crests at km 130. There is another nice little launchpad with 30km to go, the steep but short Estevayer-le-Lac.

40km/h is the average speed after three hours in the saddle. 

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The climbing doesn't stop there, though. The riders will keep heading uphill and will face some steep gradients on a short ascent at Lovens - also rated as third-category. 

Stalnov has been distanced on the climb. 

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The Bahrain-Merida team are setting a high pace on this downhill section

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With a catch made this early, we could well see further attacks being made and another breakaway forming before we come back into Payerne. 

Bahrain have no fewer than seven riders in single file at the head of the bunch. The other teams aren't complaining, even if they must be slightly bemused. This seems an excessive effort - no pressure Sonny Colbrelli. 

Ben Swift is off the back chasing back through the cars onto the back of the peloton. The UAE Team Emirates rider was third in the bunch kick yesterday and could figure today. He missed the Ardennes with an innocuous ankle sprain, and will be keen to start bagging results in his new team colours. 

32km remaining from 187km

31km remaining from 187km

Simon Clarke attacks on the lower slopes. He is followed by an FDJ rider. 

Bahrain setting the tempo behind the two escapees. Not sure why they brought the original break back before this climb. 

Team Sky come through now, putting Peter Kennaugh on the front. 

And here come the counter attacks...

28km remaining from 187km

So, the four men up front are:

Another flurry of attacks in the pack as Andrey Amador accelerates away. It's a bit disorganised in there now. 

Sander Armée, leader of the KOM classification, accelerates now. Bob Jungels fancies it, too. 

25km remaining from 187km

Alex Dowsett is the next to go and the Briton immediately gets a sizeable gap. He's a time trial specialist and will be hard to peg back. 

The bunch is strung out. Where are Bahrain-Merida? They're certainly not all gathered together on the front like they were not too long ago. 

Van der Sande was first over the top of that climb, meaning Lotto Soudal have bagged the maximum KOM points at all five climbs. That protects the KOM classification lead of Armée if nothing else. 

21km remaining from 187km

The four leaders have an advantage of 23 seconds. Dowsett is somewhere in between. 

Dowsett is off the front with a lead of 17 seconds.

Bahrain-Merida are assuming responsibility here, but neither Colbrelli nor Izaguirre are going to do much heavy lifting. Dowsett is holding is own here. 

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Yesterday's stage winner Stefan Kung, wearing the green jersey, clips off the front of the bunch to collect some additional points. 

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Kennaugh does a turn as Bahrain continue to burn their matches. This has turned into a bit of a desperate situation for them - and it's a mess entirely of their own making. 

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Here come Sky

Bora try to regain their position but Sky are dominating this one. 

Edmondson attacks!

Viviani tries to come back as the sprint opens

Viviani takes it!

Edmondson sprang a surprise with a long-ranger but Viviani stayed calm and had the speed to win it. Colbrelli was second in the end there. 

From disappointment to delight...

Top 10

General classification after stage 3

No change in the GC standings, though you can bet that won't be the case again tomorrow. We have some proper climbs on the menu for stage 4 in what is billed as the queen stage of the race. With the race concluding with a time trial on Sunday, it's all to play for in a decisive weekend. 

Here's a first finish line shot of Viviani

Here's our stage 3 page with a full report, plenty of photos, and full results on the way very shortly.

Fabio Felline lives to ride another day in yellow. 

Here's what lies in store tomorrow

We will, of course, be back tomorrow with full live coverage of that all-important stage. In the meantime, keep an eye on Cyclingnews.com for all the news and reaction from the race, along with all the action from the Tour de Yorkshire, where the opening stage has just finished. See you back here tomorrow.

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