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Tour du Var stage 3 – Live race coverage

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Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the stage 3 of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.

As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height over the south of France, there are 50km left to race. 

An attack has opened a 3:00 lead on the peloton.

There are 11 riders in the break driven by Groupama. 

These are the riders up front: 

The race is heading deep into the Alpes Maritimes.  This is a terrible finale but should produce some great racing. 

In the break Groupama are driving the pace for Gaudu and Molard who are third and fourth in GC. 

As the road turns under the highway, the Col de la Madone starts. 

Woods has two ISN teammates leading the chase and also has Dan Martin to help him. However he faces a real battle to retain his race lead.

The high pace is spitting riders out of the attack and the Woods chase group.

The gap remains at 2:30. Groupama have taken on the race and seem to be rewarded.

Geoghegan Hart ups the pace with a surge but Groupama quickly take back control.  

The chasers are only 2:15 behind but the group is suffering.

The Col de la Madone is a stunning climb as it curves upwards. 

We can expect more attacks from Geoghegan Hart and others in the attack.

Armirail is doing a huge job for Groupama. Gaudu is perhaps being held back for the GC battle, with Molard up in the attack.

Dangerous riders in the attack also include Gianluca Brambilla (Trek) and Gorka Izagirre (Astana). 

30km to go

Dan Martin is leading the chase for Woods. The Canadian is differing but tucked on his new teammates' wheel.

Behind them are Mollema, Sivakov, Gaudu, Quintana and O'Connor.

There are only six riders in the attack and three are from Groupama.

Amirail is done and so Madouas takes over and attacks. 

Brambilla also gives it a nudge, Geoghagen Hart is suffering and Izagirre is dropped.

Brambilla is stomping on the pedals. 

Madouas is with Brambilla. While behind there are other attacks.  

They are attacking each other in the Woods group. The Canadian is still there as Mollema loses a few metres.

25km to go

Woods is on his own. 

At the summit of the Col de la Madone Woods is only 1:00 down on Brambilla and Madouas.

The descent twists down the side of the mountain exactly as it climbed. 

This is the kind of road from today's stage.

Brambilla and Madouas lead by 12 seconds as Geoghagan Hart and the others are chasing hard, with the Woods group at 1:00. 

The Woods group has reformed but now lacks some conviction. Mollema won't chase because he has Brambilla up front.

Sivakov was in the Woods group but suffered a puncture.

The break will soon hit the Col du Pelletier, followed by the Col de Nice. 

12km to go

For now it is advantage Brambilla and Madouas. They are both at 13 seconds and so will also fight for the GC.  

Geoghegan Hart, Izagirre and Molard seem cooked. They've slipped to 16 seconds. 

Behind Woods attacks alone as the others seem to have ran out of energy. However it could all be too little too late for the Canadian. However he is going down with a fight.

Brambilla attacks Madouas! He's clear. 

Fuglsang, Gaudu and Quintana join Woods.

But Brambilla is riding towards victory. 

The Italian has endured two quiet seasons but seems back to his aggressive best.  

10km to go

Molard, Madouas and Geoghegan Hart are chasing Brambilla but they are 30 seconds behind.

The Woods group is at 1:00. 

Brambilla is on the Col de Nice. The 2km climb is the last obstacle between him and victory.

Brambilla turns left onto the main road. He is just 8km from the finish in Blausasc. 

Brambilla cheekily goes into a super tuck aero position. He risks a penalty if he does that after April 1.

Madouas slips out on a hairpin. That slows the chase even more.

The Woods group are closing the gap. They are 45 behind Brambilla but only 15 down on the chasers. 

Molard is the lone chaser of Brambilla now.

3km to go. 

GeoGhegan Hart tries to chase Brambilla alone.  

Brambilla leads by just 28 seconds now. This is a thriller. 

2km for Brambilla. 

Brambilla is clear and in the finish. 

Brambilla wins the stage! 

The GC will be close but he's won the GC too despite sitting up to celebrate at the finish.

The chasers finished just 13 seconds behind Brambilla but he should have sealed overall victory. 

Brambilla reveals he lives in Monaco and so knows the roads very well. 

There are no time bonuses in France and so the exact time count for the GC.

This is the top ten for the stage.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 12:51:00
2Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:05
3Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:06
4Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:09
5David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:11
6Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team
7Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:13
8Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:18
9Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
10Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:26

The provisional results also confirm Brambilla as the overall race winner.

Phew. What an intense day of racing and an intense finale in the south of France. 

Here's the moment Brambilla celebrates his victory.

This is the final top ten on GC. It was close.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 12:51:00
2Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:05
3Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:06
4Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:09
5David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:11
6Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team
7Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:13
8Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:18
9Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
10Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:26

Here's the moment Brambilla is crowned as overall winner.

To read our full stage report and see our growing photo gallery and results, click below. 

Brambilla was tired but happy after is victory. 

Amid all the action and confusion of the finale, it also transpired that Brambilla was ignorant of what exactly was going on due to a problem with his radio.

Thanks for joining us for live coverage from the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.

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