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Summary

  1. Peter Sagan wins stage three
  2. Britain's Geraint Thomas retains yellow jersey
  3. Stage three: Verviers to Longwy, 213km
  4. Five categorised climbs and uphill finish

Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

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Brits on Tour

Superb work Chris and a great photo to really end the day on.

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This is the end

And that seems like a good place to sign off for the day. Thanks for all your contributions today.

The race report is taking shape.

There will be live analysis of today's stage this evening on Facebook with OJ Borg, Rob Hayles and Simon Brotherton from around 18:30 BST, or check out the podcast a little later.

And I'll be back tomorrow morning from 11:00 BST for what I expect will be a sprint finish in Vittel.

Will Geraint Thomas remain in yellow? Will Mark Cavendish chalk up Tour stage win number 31?

Be sure to join me - and the five live team from 14:30 BST.

All smiles for Geraint

I've just seen pictures of Geraint Thomas picking up his yellow jersey. A bigger smile than yesterday.

That is a big stage ticked off for the Team Sky squad. It was a chaotic finish but it passed off without the incident and crashes that affected Sunday's stage.

Geraint Thomas
Reuters

General classification

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 10hrs 00mins 31secs

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

3. Michael Matthews (Aus/Team Sunweb) Same time

4. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora) +13secs

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

6. Pierre Latour (Fra/AG2R) +25secs

7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step) +30secs

8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Team Sky) +32secs

9. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto) Same time

10. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Team Sunweb) +34secs

The top 10 on stage three

1. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora) 5hrs 7mins 19 secs

2. Michael Matthews (Aus/Team Sunweb) Same time

3. Dan Martin (Ire/Quick-Step Floors)

4. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing)

5. Alberto Bettiol (Ita/Cannondale-Drapac) +02secs

6. Arnaud Demare (Fra/FDJ) Same time

7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana)

8. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky)

9. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky)

10. Rafal Majka (Pol/ Bora)

Porte content with finish

Richie Porte said his attack wasn't premeditated "but the guys put me in a fantastic position"

However, he said he realised "about 500m out it was a bit far" and when he saw Peter Sagan move in front of him he had no chance of winning.

"It's a shame I didn't pull it off," he added.

A word from the winner

Peter Sagan is laughing. "What is pressure? he says before thanking all his team-mates for "pulling all day on the front".

He added: "It was a really hard climb. After Richie Porte attacked I decided to go and I said to myself I was going too early. But I sprinted and my foot came out, another mistake, but I got my foot back in and I won. Matthews almost got me but I'm happy for the victory."

Thomas eighth

Geraint Thomas finished eighth, two seconds back, one place ahead of Chris Froome. Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador also finished two seconds adrift so there is no change in the time differences for the general classification contenders.

Eight stage wins for Sagan

"Sagan is a freak," says Small Man Peaky on twitter at #bbccycling.

It's hard to disagree. To unclip in full sprinting mode and then have the ability to get back in and stay upright and sprint to victory. Sensational.

An eighth stage win for the Slovakian.

the finish
Reuters

Froome up to second

Chris Froome moves up to second place overall. He must have finished on the same time as Geraint Thomas because he is 12 seconds back.

A British one-two at the Tour after three stages. I'll settle for that.

Thomas stays in yellow

I'll get a full run down of the results shortly, but suffice to say Geraint Thomas will start stage four in the yellow jersey as race leader. It also looks like Chris Froome appeared from nowhere to make sure he lost no time on his rivals.

A bit tough to see in the closing stages with riders falling back in the final 100m and others coming through.

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

That was incredible, such a hard hard finish and so difficult to call.

Showtime from Sagan

A nonchalant wave of the hand by Sagan as he crosses the line - it was never in doubt Peter eh?

That was closer than I think Peter Sagan realised. He looked like he was going to win that with ease but his foot unclipped from his pedal with about 200m to go.

The world champion clipped back in and still had the power to take it. Michael Matthews was catching with every revolution but needed another 10m.

Sagan
Reuters

Simon Brotherton

Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

Oh, what a long-bursting finish that was!

Sagan wins

Peter Sagan wins stage three of the Tour de France.

Finish
Getty Images

Sagan riding easily

Porte has a few bike lengths lead and is really opening up this race. Peter Sagan is still in the wheel riding like it's the first kilo of the race.

Geraint Thomas also looking good.

Final kilo - Porte attacks

There are no Team Sky riders up in the first dozen. But BMC are still leading this out.

Here comes Sky up the right. Michal Kwiatkowski bringing Geraint Thomas up there. Alberto Contador is also prominent.

Richie Porte attacks!

Final 2km

A big left-hander in the middle of Longwy and the road suddenly kicks up.

Richie Porte is up alongside Greg Van Avarmaet as the riders hit the steepest section with 1.5km to go.

Dan Martin appears down the left. Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb are also up there.

Final 3km

We are into the final 3km and most of it is uphill. It's a sharp kick up to the line after ascending Côte des Religieuses.

The climb is officially 1.6km at 5.8% but there is an 11% section.

BMC continue to lead

Three BMC Racing riders are still leading the way as the road snakes down into Longwy.

The peloton is stretched to breaking point.

Who has the legs for it?

Team Sunweb take up the left-hand side of the road, riding for Australia's Michael Matthews.

This is a full-on sprint to the bottom of the climb and there's about another 4km to that point.

Geraint Thomas is being well marshalled by his Team Sky team-mates. Even Chris Froome is looking round for his pal.

7.5km remaining

Vasil Kiryienka, a former time trial world champion, has used all those skills to get himself back to the peloton in super-quick time.

There is still a lot of looking around up front but BMC are taking on the pace-setting. "There is no point putting down the hammer if you're team-mate is not with you though," warns Rob Hayles.

10km to go

Another look over the shoulder for Calmejane. And all he can see is a hungry peloton. Riding 15-abreast across the road and bearing down on him. He's probably trying to work out which side of the road to surrender. The break is done. Let the racing begin.

Vasil Kiryienka was the man tasting tarmac for Team Sky. He is fourth overall. He is trying to chase back on.

Team Sky rider down

A Team Sky rider is down. It's not Geraint. It's not Froome. The TV cameras have gone back to the peloton so I don't know exactly who it is.

But if it had been G or Froome we'd have known about it.

Calmejane struggling

Lilian Calmejane knows his time is up. He looks over his right shoulder twice in the space of about 10 seconds. It's almost as though he wants to be caught.

He's got thousands of fans cheering him on so he has to keep putting in the effort...there's been a crash...

Calmejane
AFP

Simon Brotherton

Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

The peloton are really trying to up the pace. You can sense that BMC are suddenly all business.

15km remaining

There is a lot of looking around in the peloton. Domestique riders making sure their team leaders and favourites for today's stage win are well placed.

The peloton is spread out fairly widely across the road but the pace is high.

Tour de France
AFP

Polka point for Calmejane

If nothing else Lilian Calmejane is going to have one King of the Mountains point to take away from his afternoon in the break. the Frenchman is getting a wonderful reception as he ascends the 1.1km Cote de Villers-la-Montagne.

He's losing a lot of his advantage but he jumps out of his saddle for one last effort over the top.

The peloton is just 30 seconds back now.

Calmejean
AFP

Movistar make a move

The familiar blue suits of Movistar appear at the front of the peloton. Rob Hayles says they can't be working that hard just to keep Nairo Quintana out of trouble. He suggests they could be trying to set up Carlos Betancur.

20km remaining

Thomas De Gendt appears to have bonked. Romain Hardy definitely has. Pierre-Luc Perichon is trying to hang on but Lilian Calmejane is out front on his own.

Hardy is almost down to walking pace, his legs barely turning as the peloton hones into view behind him.

De Gendt looks over his shoulder, sits up, takes a drink and succumbs to the inevitable.

Calmejane has a lead of 45 seconds. That will not be enough.

Leading bunch down to one

Meanwhile, up the road, our leading four is down to a solo charge for the line and it's not who you'd think...

BMC making a move

Here comes BMC Racing to the front of the peloton. They need to make sure their team leader Richie Porte loses no more time to Chris Froome today, but they are also interested in taking the stage win with Greg van Avermaet.

Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles are going through several names who could go on to win. World champion Peter Sagan is high among them.

25km remaining

"Positioning is going to be crucial on the final climb, as always," says Rob Hayles on commentary.

The four out front are still pushing on. The two Fortuneo boys seem to be doing more work than Thomas De Gendt and Lilian Calmejane.

"He's a wily old fox is De Gendt, having got things going and is now sitting at the back," adds Simon Brotherton. "But he'll do well to win today's stage."

Thomas De Gendt
AFP

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

There’s quite a bit of road furniture through the town so the peloton are having to split themselves because of a large island in the middle of the road. It was one of those moments where you had your heart in your mouth but everyone seems OK.

We are in France

Well, not me. I'm in Salford. The riders have finally made it into France.

Audun Le Tiche is the town on the border and the riders are zipping through at a furious pace - around 52km/h or 30mp/h if you prefer.

The lead is still around 90 seconds but there are two little hills to negotiate.

The Cote de Villers-la-Montagne is the first. A category four climb. The finish is up the category three Cote des Religieuses in Longwy.

Sagan's little bruv doing the hard yards

Three Frenchmen and a Belgian are ploughing on out front. Their lead is 97 seconds.

Bora-Hansgrohe's Juraj Sagan is pulling the peloton along. The younger brother and team-mate of Peter has been up near the front for most of the day and will no doubt get a big hug if there is a family winner.

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

Bardet is now on the back, so they are within the peloton. So, panic over and they’ve got to relax and get their second wind. Just because they’re in the peloton doesn’t mean they want to sit there.

Bardet is back - 33km to go

British national champion Steve Cummings in his usual place at the back of the peloton (apart from when he's going for breakaway victories!) and he has a good view of Romain Bardet latching back on.

There is still work to be done though by the AG2R squad. The pace is high in the peloton and they have to drag Bardet back up to the front.

Bardet
AFP

Bardet in bother

Romain Bardet is in a spot of bother. The AG2R rider is around 30 seconds off the back of the peloton and he has team-mates dropping back to help him.

I'm not sure what happened to him but this is not good with the pace increasing in the peloton.

Bardet is the big home hope. He finished second to Froome last year.

"He's not panicking," says Rob Hayles on commentary. "I would imagine it was something like a puncture."

And we all know when the last French winner of the Tour was...

Calmejane who?

James Cooper on Twitter asks: "Lilian Calmejane?!? Are you just making up names now?"

Rider 173, for Direct Energie. A Frenchman, 24, who won stage four of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana. I'm struggling to tell you any more.