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Summary

  1. Andre Greipel wins stage
  2. Mark Cavendish finishes fourth
  3. Froome gains 1 min 28 secs on Nibali & Quintana
  4. Fabian Cancellara takes the yellow jersey

Live Reporting

By Chris Osborne

All times stated are UK

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Stage 3

Antwerp - Huy, 159.5km (99.1 miles)

Tour de France stage three profile
Tour de France

Well, that's it from us. Surely tomorrow can't be as exciting. Oh, what's that? A climb finish? Maybe not.

Let Geraint Thomas, in his

stage-by-stage guide, tell you about what to expect.

"My job will be all about getting Chris Froome into a good position at the last climb, the Mur de Huy, which you may know from the Spring Classic La Fleche Wallonne race, but after then you never know. The final stretch has gradients of 19% but at just 1km long there's not much to it, it's just about getting to the top fastest."

'I couldn't have hoped for more'

Chris Froome tells ITV: "I'm really thankful to my team-mates for keeping me in front, especially when that split happened. I'm glad it worked out the way it did. I couldn't have hoped for much more at this stage. One second Nibali was next to me so I couldn't believe it when he was distanced."

Yellow jersey

Cancellara
Getty Images

Yellow jersey wearer Fabian Cancellara tells ITV: "What sprinters would you want around you more? I had them there and I knew I had to go somewhere but I didn't know where. It was not my best sprint but it's what I needed to get yellow."

'It's perfect'

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas tells ITV: "The crash was a silly crash after the sprint. I landed on my bum but it was ok. During the storm it was hard enough to see where you were going. I didn't realise the gap was as big as a minute and a half, it's perfect, I wouldn't turn that down."

Race for yellow

Yellow Jersey

Classification

Chris Froome
Getty Images

So here is how the GC contenders look after stage two. Quintana will have to live up to his reputation in the mountains to pull this one back. Chris Froome and Team Sky will be happy.

10th Froome - +48secs

14th Contador - +1min

31st Pinot - +2mins 7secs

33rd Nibali - +2mins 9secs

44th Quintana - +2mins 27secs

Race for yellow - Froome in front

Nairo Quintana AP
Laurent Cipriani

This was a bad day for Nairo Quintana. It was probably an even a worse day for Vincenzo Nibali. Both of those men finished in a group one minute and 28 seconds behind GC rival Chris Froome.

Team Sky's Froome finished among the sprint finishers and is 10th in the GC, 48 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara.

Top five in GC after stage two

Yellow Jersey

Classification

1. Fabian Cancellara

2. Tony Martin +3secs

3. Tom Dumoulin +6secs

4. Peter Sagan +33secs

5. Geraint Thomas +35secs

Top five on stage two

1. Andre Greipel

2. Peter Sagan

3. Fabian Cancellara

4. Mark Cavendish

5. Daniel Oss

Stage winner Andre Greipel: "It was a pretty tough stage with a lot of cross wind. I was really nervous but the team managed to keep me at the front. That was the key factor. I'm really happy with my team-mates and proud."

Classy Cancellara

Yellow Jersey

Classification

Fabian Cancellara wearing Tour de France leader's jersey in 2012
Getty Images

In terms of the yellow, it's that stalwart Fabian Cancellara who will wear it on stage three. The Swiss came third on the stage, giving him a four-second bonus and that, combined with his tidy time trial yesterday, has put him top of the GC.

Cav fourth

It was Mark Cavendish who made the first move in that sprint and he's come off worst. Peter Sagan, who had a puncture 15 minutes ago, came second, and Fabio Cancellara has pipped Cav into third.

Greipel wins stage two

Germany's Andre Greipel times his move perfectly and the Lotto-Soudal has his hand aloft.

Sprint has started

Mark Cavendish moves, Andre Greipel is with him...

2km remaining

The lead group sweep across a dramatic bridge, water rushing below them. A brief ride on a finger of land and then another bridge. It's gorgeous to look at.

Geraint Thomas makes a move to stretch it out for his team-mate Chris Froome.

4km remaining

The second group are one minute and 25 seconds back. Quintana and Nibali can't afford for that to stretch. Are you ready for a sprint? Buckle in.

7km remaining

Sunshine and no wind. It's what we promised all along, isn't it? The sprint should be spectacular, and will travel along a causeway stretching into the north seas and on to the man-made island of Neeltje Jabs.

Super Sagan

9km remaining

Peter Sagan, 10km after suffering a puncture, has jumped on a spare bike and has caught up with the front group. What will that have taken out of the Tinkoff-Saxo man for the sprint finish?

Matt Slater

BBC Sport at the Tour de France

"The riders have reached the most exposed part of the course now but the weather is being kind on them. The wind turbines at the finish line are hardly turning.

"There is still a lot of water on the road and there is a sequence of roundabouts to get through in the run-in to the drag strip along the bridge.

"Cavendish's team have given him the easiest ride possible today so he will be desperate to repay them. Slightly surprised not to see Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas on front of lead group....oh, right on cue. Sir Dave has given them the hurry-up."

Yellow Jersey scenario

With current yellow jersey wearer Rohan Dennis in the second group, there is a chance for Tom Dumoulin, Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara to lay claim to the yellow as we enter the final 10km.

14.4km remaining

Lead group 58secs ahead

A minor blow for Alberto Contador as Tinkoff-Saxo team-mate Daniele Bennati has a mechanical. That's one less man to help the Spaniard for the time being.

Oh, and now Peter Sagan has a mechanical too. Can he get back in time to threaten Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel in the sprint?

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"Incredible. No doubt Vincenzo Nibali will have his team-mates dropping back to help him soon but that really is bad luck for him."

22km remaining

As it stands

Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan are in the front group and will fight in a sprint finish.

Chris Froome and Alberto Contador are with them, looking to gain time in the general classification.

GC rival Nairo Quintana is in the yellow jersey group 50 seconds back.

GC rival Vincenzo Nibali is chasing the second group after a puncture.

Tour de France Peloton
AP

Nibali flat tyre

Vincenzo Nibali, already in a spot of bother in the group behind the leaders, gets a puncture. It's a nightmare for the 2014 winner. A quick tyre change and he's weaving in between the support cars to try and rejoin his Astana team-mates. 

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"Who needs climbs to make for an interesting race? This one is flat as a pancake but it really has been a far cry from the ordinary.

"Movistar and Astana have to commit 100% to this to try and bring this back together now. But when there are teams at the front who are willing to expend their energy it can be really tough. Team Sky will be happy to keep Chris Froome going at this pace."

'Your legs can't turn any faster'

Mark Cavendish
Getty Images

With the sprint finish approaching, why not get an insight into the battle, the fight and the tactics required, courtesy of Mark Cavendish.

This wonderful piece by Tom Fordyce gives an idea of what the Manx Missile will be thinking about round about now.

33km remaining

Leaders one minute ahead

The group behind the 26 riders out in front has some whopping names in it. Nibali, Pinot, Dennis. And then even further back is Quintana. It's looking good for Froome and Contador up front.

It's all a bit of a mess

It really it is. It's like a few teams switched off and forgot that someone might make a move. Tinkoff-Saxo look in good shape, with Alberto Contador at the front. Chris Froome has good Team Sky numbers around him too. So it's a chance for the pair to put time between themselves and their yellow jersey rivals.

Matt Slater

BBC Sport at the Tour de France

"The peloton, or what's left of it, might be experiencing the weather we had at the finish an hour or so ago, but the good news is the weather at the finish is improving. Brightening skies and no rain. Wind has dropped, too.

"But there are groups of riders all over the place now. This is going to be a great finish regardless of the weather."

'Horrendous scenes at the finish'

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"We've had incredible scenes here at the finish, there's been stuff blowing all over the place. Fortunately it is starting to die off now but earlier there's been lightening strikes just behind us. Since then it's started to brighten up but it was absolutely horrendous. The commentary box was moving - the whole thing has been rocking."

I've cycled in a bit of wind and rain myself. I often find it's easier and quicker to just to get off and push. Does that make me a bad person?

Although it's brightened up now along the coastal road.

45.3km remaining

Lotto-Soudal are dragging the peloton on, with Mark Cavendish and his Etixx-Quick Step team-mates in the mix. But they've shrugged off a few more big names, with Vincenzo Nibali now in another group off the front along with Thibaut Pinot and yellow jersey wearer Rohan Dennis

48.5km remaining

The peloton has dropped a group of stragglers 48 seconds back, and that group contains Nairo Quintana. The Colombian is a yellow jersey contender, but won't come into his own until the mountain stages in week two. This could be an opportunity for Froome, Nibali and Contador to build up a cushion.

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

If you want to accompany my words with the sound of live commentary, you can now do so by clicking the little audio button at the top.

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"It's starting to pour down with rain and it's not long now before the wind really starts to hit them too, as they continue along the coast.

"It's going to be extremely tight for the sprint today. It's all about the timing and having team-mates around you. Mark Cavendish of course has Mark Renshaw in his time to help guide him towards the finish."