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Summary

  1. Marcel Kittel wins sprint finish in Liege, Belgium
  2. Defending champion Chris Froome crashes in wet
  3. Team Sky rider completes stage after changing bike
  4. Geraint Thomas retains race lead
  5. Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra (online only)

Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

Get involved

On to stage three

So what does Monday's stage three have in store? Read Rob Hayles's stage-by-stage guide to find out why he thinks "a puncheur" will win the day. It promises to be another unpredictable day with an uphill finish threatening to shake up the standings. Will Geraint Thomas keep hold of the yellow jersey?

I'll be back from 11:00 BST with the start and Simon Brotherton and Rob will be on Radio 5 live Sports Extra from 14:30.

Remember to look out for the BeSpoke podcast which will be live on this page and the 5 live Facebook page from 18:15 BST. Or pick up the podcast a little later in the evening.

The stage report is taking shape.

Thanks for all your input today. Let's go again tomorrow.

Cav happy and honest

Mark Cavendish was his usual honest self in talking reporters through the sprint finish, although it's the first time I've ever heard him be satisfied with fourth place in a sprint.

"I was on the ideal wheel in the end but when Kittel went I was sprinting in his wheel and there was no way I could go past him.

"It's as I expected, I'm happy with that. Six weeks training and fourth on a stage of the Tour. The team were excellent. You always want to win but fourth on a Tour stage is a lot better than I expected.

"I didn't feel like I had power in my legs. I got where I was by jumping on other wheels to get up."

Thomas stays in yellow

Race leader Geraint Thomas is not quite as excited as he was yesterday but here's what he had to say on today's events: "We were all in a decent position, but a few guys came past us pretty quickly and slid and we all just went down. We got up pretty quickly though. Anything can happen and I wouldn't take anything for granted. Tomorrow is another day and we will be doing all we can for Froome."

Geraint Thomas
Getty Images

The top 10 after stage two

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 4hrs 53mins10secs

2. Stefan Kueng (Swi/BMC Racing) +5secs

3. Marcel Kittel (Ger/Quick-Step) +6secs

4. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr/Team Sky) +7secs

5. Matteo Trentin (Ita/Quick-Step) +10secs

6. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +12secs

7. Jos van Emden (Ned/LottoNL) +15secs

8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Team Sky) Same time

9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Dimension Data) +16secs

10. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Sunweb) Same time

Froome fine

Defending champion Chris Froome says he is fine after crashing during today's stage.

He told ITV4: "No injury. I just lost a bit of skin on my backside. That's the nature of the race, in slippery conditions and at those speeds you can't avoid it. I'm so happy to get to the finish without losing any time to my rivals."

The top five on stage two

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger/Quick-Step Floors) 4hrs 37mins 06secs

2. Arnaud Demare (Fra/FDJ) same time

3. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto-Soudal)

4. Mark Cavendish (GB/Dimension Data)

5. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Team Lotto NL-Jumbo)

Marcel Kittel winning stage two
Reuters
Kittel sprints for the win as a team-mate celebrates early - with Cavendish on the left claiming fourth

Thomas retains yellow

Geraint Thomas celebrates the yellow jersey
Getty Images

Official confirmation that Geraint Thomas stays in yellow as the race leader.

A word from the winner

Marcel Kittel celebrates
Getty Images

Here's Germany's Marcel Kittel: "I'm super happy I got this victory. It was an incredible start in Germany and it would be wrong to say I had no expectation or pressure. I wanted this win and it was a big goal to start in Germany and win the stage."

Encouraging for Cav

Marcel Kittel celebrates
Reuters

Rob Hayles on BBC Radio 5 live says Cavendish probably won't be happy with that finish because he didn't win, but he should be given his preparation for the race.

Also, Hayles points out that Cav doesn't normally win stages early on in the race, so the fact he was up there was encouraging.

Two Brits in the top 10

Ben Swift finished seventh so that's two Brits in the top 10 today. A good effort all round.

Chris Froome has finished safely and is arriving back at the team bus. No word on whether Geraint Thomas has retained the yellow jersey yet...

Chris Froome arrives at team bus after stage two
BBC Sport
Froome arriving at his team bus at the end of stage two

Incredible

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

Marcel Kittel celebrates
Getty Images

"Absolutely incredible. You didn't see Marcel Kittel in the last 100 meters and Mark Cavendish appeared from nowhere. It was a great sprint and superb effort."

Kittel from Demare

Marcel Kittel is crying. A 10th stage win at the Tour de France has reduced the German to tears.

It looks like he won from Arnaud Demare, with Andre Greipel in third - although official confirmation to come.

Mark Cavendish was involved but finished fourth. Rob Hayles on commentary says Cav should be well pleased with his effort.

Kittel wins stage two

Marcel Kittel celebrates
Getty Images

Marcel Kittel takes stage two.

Final kilo

And now we are under the Flamme Rough. 1km to go. The big boys are out to play. Lotto Soudal leading the way. Heads are down, legs are pumping. Mark Renshaw is looking for Cav.

Sagan is up there and leading this out...

Leaders caught

The catch comes with 1.1km to go.

Final 2km

This is going down to the wire. Taylor Phinney and Yoann Offredo are not looking backwards. If they did, they would see a pulsating mass of 150+ riders bearing down on them.

Suddenly the peloton begins to look around at each other, everybody looking for the best spot on the road.

3km remain

The Quick-Step Floors team are pushing hard on the front. Anything other than a stage win for their man Marcel Kittel today will be viewed as a failure, or so that's what Mark Cavendish said earlier today.

Talking of Cav. There he is. About 15 off the front. Perfect positioning.

Lead is 20 seconds.

Final 5km

Taylor Phinney and Yoann Offredo are making their Tour de France debuts. Can they hang on? They are still 30 seconds clear inside the final 5km

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

"I feel sure that the breakaway riders will get brought back into the peloton still, but it could be in the final few 100 meters."

Lead dropping

The lead is dropping like a stone. Down to 35 seconds with around 6.5km remaining.

Peter Sagan has a Bora team-mate sheltering him, while Lotto Soudal's entire team appears down the right-hand side, battling with Quick-Step Floors. Greipel v Kittel there.

Teams lining up

The road suddenly widens and the lead-out trains become evident.

For the first time today Taylor Phinney looks like he's blowing a bit.

Team Sky and Movistar are down the right-hand side of the road. FDJ are going down the middle.

Final 10km

Taylor Phinney and Yoann Offredo are sharing the duties out front. Perhaps helped by the carnage behind, their lead is around 50 seconds.

Rob Hayles says the drying roads mean the advantage swings back to the peloton.

Here comes Cav. The Manxman is moving up towards the front of the peloton. He has fellow Brit Scott Thwaites and long-time lead-out men Bernie Eisel and Mark Renshaw helping him out.

Here comes the sun

The sun is starting to peak out as Laurent Pichon, who had been in the break, casts a glance over his shoulder, and watches the peloton swallow him quicker than he can devour the energy bar he had been unwrapping.

The roads are drying as they race into Liege, which will certainly help the confidence of the sprinters.

Into the final 15km

Thomas De Gendt leads the peloton
Getty Images

Phew. That all got a bit hectic. And it shows how nothing can be taken for granted. With four riders in the top eight after stage one, Team Sky could easily have lost both race leader Geraint Thomas and race favourite Chris Froome in a heartbeat.

Phinney on the attack

Taylor Phinney continues his effort over the top and opens up a bit of a gap. Yoann Offredo bridges the gap. The two of them making a brave bid for glory.

17km remaining and Chris Froome is back in the peloton again.

Phinney takes polka

The leaders are on the Cote d'Olne. Laurent Pichon goes early but Taylor Phinney is having none of that and takes the point on offer for reaching the summit first.

He will wear the polka dot jersey on Monday as leader of the King of the Mountains. He is the first American since Tejay van Garderen in 2011 to lead that classification.

Froome changes bike

Chris Froome has his hand in the air though. He is calling for some help from the team car.

He ditches the bike on a roadside verge and another bike is put in front of him and he is chasing again. Former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski has dropped back again to help him.

It will be another big chase back on for the defending champion. He takes a 90-degree left-hander extremely carefully. He is 27 seconds behind the peloton, which is, in turn, 27 seconds behind the leading quartet.

Thomas safe, Froome back with peloton

There are riders spread out across the road. France's Romain Bardet has one team-mate in front of him as he tries to limit his current losses.

Has the peloton eased off a bit there? Froome and Bardet are back with the peloton. I think I just saw Geraint Thomas up near the front of the peloton.

The gap to the leading quartet is 45 seconds with around 25km to go.

Anything can happen

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

"You never know what can happen in the Tour de France. The third rider in the peloton went down and pulled down almost everybody with him. The weather definitely played a part."

Still no sign of Thomas

There are no pictures of Geraint Thomas. There is no news of the Welshman. The TV pictures are showing replays off the crash.

It was a Katusha rider who went down and took out the Sky rider in front of him and a good 15-20 behind him.

Geraint Thomas did go down but he could well have bounced back up.

Froome back pedalling

Chris Froome is back up and pedalling. His shorts are ripped and he is being paced back up to the peloton by Michal Kwiatkowski.

It looks like it was a Sky rider that went down first as the peloton came off a roundabout. Geraint Thomas may well have gone down too.

The pace is on at the front of the peloton though as the sprinters line up for the finish, with 30km remaining.

Froome and Bardet crash

A big crash in the peloton - Chris Froome is down. A few Team Sky riders are down. Romain Bardet, the big French hope is down.

Green jersey is done deal for Sagan

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

Peter Sagan for Bora-Hansgrohe
Getty Images

"Peter Sagan may as well start the Tour de France with the green jersey - it's almost a done deal. He just walks away with the points in the green jersey competition and barring illness or injury, it's his."

Katusha leading the chase

Katusha-Alpecin are leading this chase. Their rider Alexander Kristoff showed he is up for getting involved by winning the race for fifth in the intermediate sprint a little earlier.

The team of FDJ is also prominent. They are riding for the French national champion Arnaud Demare.

Gap closing to the leaders

Are the legs tiring out front, or is the pace high in the peloton? The four out front now just have a 50-second advantage. Another minute gone in around 7km.

Team Sky are assembled up near the front of the peloton. They have Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to keep safe today.

Just 35km remaining.

Froome happy for G

And Chris Froome was happy to see his team-mate and long-time key Tour domestique finally get the stage win that his efforts have deserved.

View more on twitter

Really happy with that start and amazing to see @GeraintThomas86 in the #yellowjersey

Thomas priority for Team Sky

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

"Geraint Thomas will be a priority for Team Sky, but he is not and will not be their overall leader. It will be interesting though to see what the race presents and how long Thomas can stay around the top of the overall standings."

Sprinters teams getting assembled

The peloton is being dragged along by riders from Lotto-Soudal (riding for Andre Greipel), Quick-Step Floors (Marcel Kittel), Dimension Data (Mark Cavendish) and Katusha-Alpecin (Alexander Kristoff).

The four out front are now just 100 seconds clear with a little over 40km remaining.

Don't forget there is a category four climb between here and the finish. the Cote d'Olne won't trouble the sprinters but it may provide a launch pad for a rider who may fancy a shot at a solo win into Liege.

Stress-free day for GC

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

"Today will be a relatively stress-free day for most, riders will just need to keep their legs moving and concentrate on recovering from the time-trial yesterday. Tomorrow is more of a day for the general classification."