Mark Cavendish narrowly pipped Andre Greipel in a photo finish on stage three to claim his second win at this year’s Tour de France and 28th of his career.The pair both celebrated as they crossed the line after Greipel of Lotto Soudal led out the sprint and Cavendish riding for Dimension Data pulled alongside in the final 25m. Overhead cameras showed Cavendish had nicked it and the race jury later confirmed the Manxman had triumphed by the width of a tyre.
The 31-year-old is now level with Bernard Hinault on the all-time list of Tour stage winners, just six adrift of the legendary Eddy Merckx’s record of 34.Peter Sagan of Tinkoff finished fourth behind Direct Energie rider Bryan Coquard to retain the overall race lead, while Chris Froome of Team Sky has moved up to fourth overall after leapfrogging Giant-Alpecin’s Warren Barguil due to superior cumulative stage placings.
Stage three of Le Tour took the riders 223.5km from Granville on the Normandy coast inland to Angers, but after Armindo Fonseca riding for Fortuneo-Vital Concept managed to break away on his own, the peloton ambled along at an usually slow pace. Thomas Voeckler of Direct Energie brought the stage back to life by attacking and joining Fonseca, but the pair were caught with 8km to go as the sprint teams at last moved through the gears.
Pre-stage favourite Marcel Kittel of Etixx – Quick-Step didn’t contest the sprint after his lead-out train collapsed inside the final 1.5km. Cavendish was wearing the points classification’s green jersey today on behalf of leader Sagan, but his victory has taken him to the top of the standings. His total of 123 points is seven ahead of Sagan and 44 in front of Greipel.
Tomorrow’s fourth stage, from Saumur to Limoges, is the longest of the race at 237.5km and should culminate in yet another sprint finish.
Stage three result
1 Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data, 5:59:54
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal, same time
3 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie, st
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff, st
5 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, st
6 Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling, st
7 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step, st
8 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, st
9 Dan McLay (GB) Fortuneo-Vital Concept, st
10 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, st
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff, 14:34:36
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step, +8sec
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +10
4 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, same time
5 Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin, st
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff, st
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal, st
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st
10 Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step, st