A guide to the Tour de France
4th July 2016
Mark Cavendish won Stage 3 today, beating André Greipel in a photo finish.
The third stage of the 2016 Tour de France from Granville to Angers was contested in a bunch sprint. Cavendish was well-placed throughout the closing stages, shepherded by Edvald Boasson Hagen, and finally Mark Renshaw. On the final straight, Cavendish was on Greipel's wheel, then attempted to come past. The battle to cross the line first couldn't have been closer; in the end, it seemed to come down to the fact that Greipel lunged for the line first, and Cavendish's own lunge was better timed.
Both riders raised their arms in tentative celebration, and it took a few minutes before the news came through that the Manxman's wheel was a centimetre or two ahead. It's the second win for Cavendish in three stages, the last coming on Stage 1.
This is a video of the closing stages of Stage 3:
Cavendish said, 'I normally know when I win or lose a photo finish. I thought I had it, but you just never know. I kind of knew I got it, but you still have to wait. It was phenomenal, it was so hairy in the finish. We really planned, planned, planned this race. I knew you had to come from behind. It was uphill, and you had to run with speed. If you hit out early, someone was always going to come. I saw Greipel go through, and I wanted to be behind Greipel. Like me last year, after I didn't win the first stage, I was hitting out to early. I knew André would do the same - I knew he'd hit out because he didn't win the other day, and that was good. Actually, he had another wind, when I started to come past - I thought I would have it easy, and he went again, and it took me by surprise actually, but I'm so happy to have go that.'
Cavendish takes the lead in the green jersey competition. He said, 'I'm super happy, I've got the green back.'
Earlier, Armindo Fonseca (Fortuneo) made what was initially a solo break, then he was joined by Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie). The peloton was very relaxed early in the stages, chatting and rolling along at a gentle pace. However, as they got closer to the finish, they picked up the pace, to control the break. The duo were caught with 8km to go to the finish.
CyclingNews has the full race results and overall standings.
This is the Stage 3 highlights video:
The 2016 Tour de France begins at Mont St Michel, in the Manche département of France. It tackles the Pyrenees before the Alps, and as always there's a final processional stage to Paris.
Stage 4 starts in Saumur and goes south to Montreuil-Bellay, les Trois-Moutiers, Loudun, Châtellerault, Saint-Savin, and Montmorillon. It then passes from the Vienne département to the Haute Vienne, going through le Dorat (where there's an intermediate sprint), and becoming more hilly as it nears Limoges. At 232km, this is the longest stage of the 2016 Tour. There are two categorised climbs towards the end of the stage, but overall, it's flat enough to be likely to end in another sprint, in front of the Town Hall in Limoges. Read about Stage 4, Tour de France 2016.
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