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Summary

  1. Cavendish beats Greipel in photo finish
  2. Cavendish moves level with Hinault's 28 stage wins
  3. Sagan keeps leader's yellow jersey
  4. Froome remains 14 seconds adrift
  5. Stage 3: 223.5km from Granville to Angers

Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

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Will Cav win 29th stage?

Thanks for all your tweets today in what turned out to be a mammoth six-hour stage. The race report is taking shape.

I'm taking a break tomorrow, so Chris Osborne will be in the chair. 

Could Mark Cavendish win his 29th Tour de France stage and take sole possession of second on the all-time list?

Be sure to join us from 12:00 BST with live commentary courtesy of BBC Radio 5 live from 15:00 BST.

Stage four for the sprinters

So, what does tomorrow have in store for us? Well, it's another day for the sprinters. 

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, in his stage-by-stage guide, is expecting another tough day in the saddle with 237.5km, the longest of this year's race, between Saumur to Limoges.

He picked out Marcel Kittel as the one to watch. 

I humbly suggest you keep tabs on one Mark Cavendish. There is a another uphill kick to the finish which may suit Peter Sagan more.

But today was slightly uphill as well and look what happened. 

Sagan speaks

"It was a long day. The last 20km was a bit funny before that was staying on a wheel and eating and drinking. My aim is to be in one piece in Paris. Happy to finish third today and stay in yellow but it is more happy to be safe and healthy."

Upstaged by his daughter

Mark Cavendish is holding court again, having picked up his green jersey. His daughter interrupts to discuss her hair. Beautiful scenes.

"Who thought when i started cycling that I would have my name mentioned in line with Bernard Hinault. It's pretty amazing," he says when he can get a word in.

Two Brits in the top 10

A great top-10 for another British sprinter. Dan McLay taking his second ninth of the Tour.

The width of a tire is all that's needed. You beaut #2

The width of a tire is all that's needed. You beaut #2

Cavendish takes green jersey lead

The victory also gives Mark Cavendish the lead in the green points jersey classification. He leads on 123 points with Peter Sagan second on 116.

Cav is not expecting to keep that lead to Paris though - he expects Sagan to pick up too many points in intermediate sprints.

The moment Cav won

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Delilah grabs the flowers

For the second stage in three days, Mark Cavendish is up on the top step of the podium with his children. His daughter Delilah grabs the bouquet of flowers.

And there's a hearty congratulations from Bernard Hinault. Nice touch that.

Cavendish et sa meilleure équipe ! / Cav and his best team ! #TDF2016

Cavendish et sa meilleure équipe ! / Cav and his best team ! #TDF2016

Even following #TDF2016 on #bbccycling it was tense waiting for that result!! Nice one @MarkCavendish - 28 stage wins!!

Cav talks, we listen

"I know when I win and lose a photo finish and i thought i had it but I still had to wait. 

"It was so hairy in the finish but we planned it and I knew I had to come from behind. I wanted to be behind Greipel. After I didn't win the first stage last year I was anxious, a bit like Andre today. 

"The guys were phenomenal again. Bernie Eisel and Mark Renshaw did a fantastic job."

Sagan stays in yellow

I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to Mark Cavendish's interview and hopefully we'll get to see Bernard Hinault hand over his stage-winning prize.

Peter Sagan will stay in the yellow jersey after finishing fourth.

The top 5

1. Mark Cavendish 2. Andre Greipel 3. Bryan Coquard 4. Peter Sagan 5. Edward Theuns  

How close?

This close.

OFFICIEL: @MarkCavendish remporte l'étape sur le fil / @MarkCavendish wins! #TDF2016

OFFICIEL: @MarkCavendish remporte l'étape sur le fil / @MarkCavendish wins! #TDF2016

That's the tightest finish I have ever seen! Get in Cav! #bbccycling

Yesssssssss!!!!!!! @MarkCavendish!!!!!!! Number 28!!!!!! Massive Congratulations! #ManxMissile #bbccycling

Busted by the boss watching #tdf2016 in the final km.Couldn't stop then could I - no lunch break for me tomorrow...YES CAV!!!!!! #bbccycling

Chapeau Cav

A big smile erupts across his face. That is 28 Tour de France stage wins for Mark Cavendish. He has equalled Bernard Hinault's tally of 28.

Only Eddy Merckx has won more. That is staggering. So staggering I'm going to repeat it.

  That is 28 Tour de France stage wins for Mark Cavendish.  

CAV WINS!

MARK CAVENDISH WINS STAGE THREE OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE

Still waiting...

Wow. I've never seen a race as close as that. We are still waiting for official confirmation. Cav is surrounded by dozens of people but nobody knows for sure. He's looking around. And suddenly the result comes in...

Cav lunge to perfection

We're taking another look at this. Cavendish's wheel looks like it crosses the line about 5 milimetres ahead of Greipel.

Did the Manxman time his lunge to absolute perfection.

Photo finish

Cavendish does not know. Greipel punched the air but I think Cav has got this

It's close

Everyone safely round the final bend. Greipel opens up. But here comes Cav

Final Kilo

A sharp left-hander causes everyone to bunch up. Three Etixx riders come out of it in front. Then it's Dimension Data with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Mark Renshaw ahead of their man Cavendish. He's in the perfect place going into the final kilo.

Sagan tracking Kittel

Here we go then. Etixx have got themselves back on track. Dimension Data are coming through but I can't see the green jersey of Cavendish just yet. Here comes Andre Greipel though.

Peter Sagan is on the wheel of Marcel Kittel with 2km remaining.

Sprint trains splintered

There are teams all over the place. Cannondale are on the nose but they are riding for Pierre Rolland, a potential general classification rider.

Etixx - Quick-Step trying to get themselves sorted and Lott Soudal have dropped back a bit. 3.5km remaining

Sagan close to going down

Into the final 5km. Peter Sagan goes shoulder-to-shoulder with another rider as they swing round a roundabout. He was worried before the start of the stage. No respect for the yellow jersey.

Voeckler wins aggressive prize

Tommy Voeckler is named as the stage's most aggressive rider! Bit tough on Armindo Fonseca.

'Like the final stage'

Rob Hayles has compared today's stage to the Tour's final one.

It was a very, very gentle start to the day for the riders but now, into the last 10km, things are getting serious.

"It's almost like a copy of the final stage into Paris, he said.

"The first bit is about the riders enjoying the ride and saying hello to the crowd but inside the final 10km the race is on."

The breakaway is caught

Tommy Voeckler is looking over his right shoulder almost as much as he is looking forward and finally he sits up. 

Chapeau to our two breakaway riders, and a special mention to Armindo Fonseca. He was out front for 215km, give or take a few metres.

Just 7km remaining.

The peloton is coming

Voeckler and Fonseca are holding on. They have made it into the final 10km. 

The peloton is spread out across the road. Movistar down the right, with Team Sky, Lotto Soudal down the left. Here come the sprinters.

I don't think I've ever seen a stage like this. The peloton have chilled out for well over half this race. Fresh legs all round! #BBCCycling

@5livesport #BBCCycling This stage needs a Cav win or it runs the risk of being utterly forgettable. Would always take a Voeckler win too!

Voeckler pushing on

His head is bobbing and his tongue is out. Classic Voeckler as he strains every sinew to keep out for as long as he can. The 37-year-old is riding in his 14th Tour de France so he knows the game is up.

But he never gives in easily. Fonseca is taking the easy route in his slipstream.

15km remaining

Fonseca and Voeckler are in view. The peloton swarms around a left-hand bend, followed by a right and they can see their prey just 20 seconds ahead.

After the quietest of quiet days, this is about to get a little crazy.

Into the final 20km

According to my Tour de France book, the riders should be giving post-race interviews by now and I should be dipping my fingers in ice.

They are still 20km from the finish in Angers though and 35 minutes behind schedule.

Fonseca and Voeckler are 45 seconds clear and travelling at 54km/h (just over 30mph). The peloton slightly quicker.

Cav has 27 Tour stage wins

Bernard Hinault has 28. Eddy Merckx has 34.

Just making sure Martin. Just making sure ;)

Any chance you could let us know how many wins Cav has in the Tour and who has more. Struggling to pick that up in your feed ;) #bbccycling

Sagan staying in yellow

Will race leader Peter Sagan fancy this finish? There is a bit of an uphill drag to the line. Not anywhere near as severe as yesterday mind, but it is uphill. 

The world champion is set to stay in the race leader's yellow jersey regardless because he has enough of an advantage over the rest of the field, unless Julian Alaphilippe surprises everyone, including himself, to take the win.

Bicycle-powered hovercrafts

Now there's something you don't see every day. A bicycle-powered hovercraft. The rider is in the yellow jersey but, unfortunately for her, going away from the road as the peloton zips by. 

I hope it wasn't a lifelong ambition of hers to watch the race go by,

Team Sky moving up

We are heading into the final 30km and Team Sky have moved up to the front right of the peloton. No sprinter in their nine-man squad. Their only aim is keeping Chris Froome out of trouble and away from crashes.

One of his rivals Alberto Contador has already lost nearly a minute after crashing on both stage one and two so it is vital Froome keeps upright to keep him nice and fit for the mountains later in the week.

An Etixx - Quick-Step rider is leading the bunch with the Lotto Soudal train of Andre Greipel hitching a ride on his tail.

Cavendish 'capable' of beating Hinault

Should Mark Cavendish win his 28th stage today then he could be greeted on the podium by Bernard Hinault.

A win for Cavendish would see him join Hinault on 28 Tour wins.

Rob Hayles has suggested the Frenchman, who has won a joint record five Tours de France, might have his own special way of congratulating the Manxman.

"I wonder if Mark was able to take the prize whether he'd get a punch thrown at him from Bernard for equalling his record. He's a bit of a bodyguard these days," Hayles joked.

"Cav has shown the form to suggest he is capable of going past the 28 wins this year."

Belgium's Eddy Merckx, one of only three other riders to win five Tours, is the only man ahead of them on 34.

@MarkCavendish or @marcelkittel that is the question... #BBCCycling

What's happened so far?

There are two riders in a break. Armindo Fonseca of the Fortuneo Vital Concept team has been out since the riders left Granville almost 200km ago.

The peloton was in no rush to catch him, allowing the Frenchman to gain  a lead of more than 11 minutes at one point.

Tommy Voeckler got bored of sitting in a peloton that was moving at pedestrian pace so he asked permission to attack and sprinted off up the road to join his compatriot.

And there they have sat for the last hour or so.

Their lead is down under one minute though as they enter the final 40km of the stage.

Armindo Fonseca
Getty Images
Fonseca was the only rider to make the break from the peloton at the start of the stage

A big day for Cav

If you're just joining us for the closing kilometres of today's stage and are wondering what all the fuss is about surrounding Mark Cavendish, it's quite simple.

The race is careering into Angers for an expected bunch sprint finish and that means the Manx Missile will be there or thereabouts.

Should he win, he will match French legend Bernard Hinault's haul of 28 Tour de France stage wins. It will put him joint second on the all-time list with just Belgian Eddy Merckx ahead of him on 34.

However, while Bernie and Eddy won numerous time trial stages, all of Cavendish's 27 to date have come in mass sprint finishes.