03/07/17 - 8:25 PM
Verviers - Longwy
Tour de France • Stage3

Verviers - Longwy
Tour de France - 3 July 2017

Tour de France – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 20:25 on 3 July 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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With 10 bonus seconds, Sagan will move into the top ten today. He'll be 15 seconds down on the yellow jersey, Geraint Thomas. Marcel Kittel, who was dropped on the final climb, will probably drop out of the top ten.


Here's your top ten today - with both Thomas and Froome in the mix.


It was Michael Matthews who took second place and Dan Martin who came third ahead of Greg van Avermaet.


Amazing that Sagan won that - replays show that his foot came out and he had to clip back in before launching his final sprint.


Victory for Peter Sagan, the world champion! It looked like he has messed it up when he had a problem with his pedal - but he finds something to soar ahead and hold off Michael Matthews and Greg van Avermaet.


Sagan sweeps poast Porte, but then loses his chain and drops a gear...


It's Porte who attacks first with Contador and Majka behind. Sagan is just behind.


Stalemate on this steep climb with Bardet and Contador right on the front near Porte... It's Roche who leads things under the flamme rouge for BMC, with Porte, Contador and Majka behind.


BMC have men in numbers into the chicane - and here we go... Kristoff is there as well as Sagan edges up.


We're approaching that pinch point with the chicane... and it's the German national champion Marcus Burghardt who does the honours, with van Avermaet and Stybar just behind.


I'd say this was the calm before the storm, but there's nothing calm about it. Demare is near the front, so that shows his intentions... It's all strung out.


Lots of riders have been dropped from the pack now as Bora and Sunweb come to the front with their men Sagan and Matthews.


The peloton is snaking down some hairpin bends now with BMC driving the pace through Michal Schar, who has the Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet right on his wheel. Positioning is going to be vital.


This is what the climax of today's stage looks like on paper...


Quick-Step Floors have come to the front as well - they have multiple cards to play and will hope to have Kittel there or there abouts to give him a good shout at yellow tomorrow.


That's it: Lilian Calmejane has been caught by the pack, so it's all back together ahead of today's finale. Trek and BMC are on the front. The pace is high as Sky come forward as well. The British team have four riders in the top 10 at the moment: Thomas, Froome, Kwiatkowski and Kiryienka, who has just rejoined the peloton after his spill.


It was Vasil Kiryienka who hit the deck from Sky. He's ok and fighting back on.


CRASH: Three riders down including a Team Sky rider and Bozic from Bahrain Merida.


The peloton is rampaging along with Orica-Scott setting the tempo. Their man Esteban Chaves would usually be up for a finish like today's but the Colombian is coming back from injury and so he may struggle... Calmejane looks over his shoulder - he knows what's coming.


De Gendt was caught and Perichon has just been caught. Calmejane's advantage is 30 seconds - but he's done enough to pick up the single point over the top of the Cat.4 Cote de Villers-la-Montagne. Just one more climb to go today - the one that finishes on the finish line.


Calmejane has 50 seconds and it looks like it's going to come to nothing. It was always a bold effort from the French Tour debutant - and this stage needed a counter attack like rainbows need Peter Sagan. But you get the impression that all he'll get from this is a solitary point over the summit of this climb...


It seems that that was not the Cat.4 climb - even if it was steeper than the actual Cat.4 climb, which is still to come. Calmejane passes under the 20km-to-go banner with a gap of 1:03 over the pack. Movistar and UAE Team Emirates have edged to the front of the peloton.


Calmejane has dropped Perichon as well and so we have just the one man leading the race now as he approaches the summit. Meanwhile, Hardy has been caught by the pack - the first of the leading four to be absorbed.


Hardy has been dropped by the break - and De Gendt is also struggling as Calmejane and Perichon ride clear. The Belgian put in some big shifts on the front yesterday and he's clearly feeling the pinch.


Just 1:10 now for the four leaders, who are onto the Cat.4 Cote de Villers-la-Montagne. Back with the pack and it's Sunweb - and in particular, Laurens ten Dam - who are leading the chase for their man Matthews.


"It's going to be chaos." Sean Kelly on today's finish, which includes a tight chicane with 1.8km to go at the beginning of the ramped uphill road to the line.


The 104th edition of the Tour de France enters France for the first time: the riders have just crossed the border from Luxembourg, where they will head back tomorrow morning for the start of stage four in the Schlecks' home town of Mondorf-les-Bains.


BMC come to the front for the first time - protecting their leader Richie Porte but also helping to pave the way for the Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet. The gap is still 1:30 for De Gendt, Calmejane, Hardy and Perichon.


Bardet appears to be ok - there are no obvious injuries or torn kit - so there's a chance it was a mechanical. But if it was a crash, that's a second fall in as many days. The Frenchman has managed to join the back of the peloton, so it's should be ok now for Bardet after that scare.


Adam Hansen has given up the chase and is swept up by the peloton, which is rampaging along - but still trails the four leaders by 1:45.


CRASH: We're hearing that Romain Bardet has hit the deck. The TV cameras didn't pick it up but the Frenchman is currently being paced back by two Ag2R-La Mondiale team-mates - plus his team car. They're 30 seconds down on the peloton at the moment so have their work cut out.


Sicard and Backaert have been caught by the pack, who trail the four leaders by 1:35. It seems that Politt and Brown have thrown in the towel as well, so it's just Hansen chasing down the four leaders - De Gendt, Calmejane, Hardy and Perichon.


Romain Hardy has bridged over so Fortuneo-Oscaro have two riders in this leading four-man break. Politt and Brown lead the chase, with Hansen happy to take a back seat in the knowledge that his team-mate, De Gendt, is further up the road. Sicard has blown and will soon be caught by the peloton.


The three fresher riders - De Gendt, Perichon and Calmejane - have dropped the older escapees again. The gap is up to 1:25 and Sagan's team are worried enough to throw numerous men on the front of the pack.


Of course, the big favourites today are Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC). But the joy of it is that there are so many potential winners out there - even someone like Carlos Betancur of Movistar. Who do you reckon will win? Have your say below, or tweet me @saddleblaze.


Quick-Step Floors have numerous riders who could go for the win today: it may be too touch for yesterday's winner Marcel Kittel, but Matteo Trentin could draw level with Geraint Thomas if he wins and pockets the 10 bonus seconds... More likely a scenario is their man Philippe Gilbert, although he may find things tough going when the road flattens near the top, reopening the door to some of the faster finishers. Dan Martin is another option for the Belgian team. Of course, if Kittel finishes with the main pack then he'll be targeting yellow after tomorrow's sprint to Vittel.


The break is already splitting up: De Gent, Perichon and Backaert have opened up a small gap; five chase back but Sicard is struggling. It comes back together but it's getting feisty - and it's just what this stage needs. Their advantage over the pack is up to 1:22 as Bora, Sunweb and Quick-Step come to the front to help lead the chase. The peloton has really strung out accordingly.


Those three chasers - Calmejane, De Gendt and Pierre-Luc Perichon - have joined the break, so we now have nine riders out in front: two from Lotto, two from Direct Energie and two from Fortuneo-Oscaro. They have 55 seconds on the pack. That has spiced things up a little.


CRASH: A touch of wheels in the peloton brings down a handful of riders and holds up many more. SOme of those involved are Dario Cataldo (Astana), Alexis Vuillermoz and Oliver Naesen (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Jacob Venter (Dimension Data). But it's nothing too serious and they'll all be back on their bikes soon.


ATTACK: Frenchman Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) tears up the script and attacks from the peloton, taking Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and a Fortuneo-Oscaro rider with him. That's an interesting move...


It's a technical and tricky finish today: not only do the riders have to negotiate a street called the Rue de l'Abbatoir, it's followed by a tight bend which funnels the riders onto the start of the climb to the finish, where the gradient hits double digits before flattening out. That means you're going to have to be near the front when the road bottlenecks if you want to have a chance of winning - otherwise you'll have way too much ground to make up.


Frederik Backaert - who looks like a cross between Bradley Wiggins and Ed Clancy - drives the pace of the break as they attempt to stave off the inevitable. They've just passed a load of hot air balloons.


The gap is steadily coming down for this break of six men, who have been out after forming around 5km into today's stage. It's the second stage in excess of 200km and so there will be some tired legs out there. They have just 1:10 to play with now.


The gap for the six escapees - Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Nils Politt (Katusha), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) - is down to 1:35.


Luxembourg definitely doing better than Belgium when it comes to bike field art - the Belgians made zero effort, unlike the Germans, who at least defied the rain to have a pop.


Here's the breakaway in action...


After all the rain we had in Germany and Belgium, it's nice to see the sun shining on the Tour again. The gap is back down to 2:30 after that flurry of activity on the climb.


Confirmation of the virtual polka dot standings: Nathan Brown 3pts, Taylor Phinney 2pts, Nils Politt 2pts. The German did indeed pip Frederik Backaert for that point on the earlier climb back there, before taking another for second place in the first Cat.3 climb of the race behind Brown. So, it's not a done deal yet for Cannondale: if Politt takes a point on the penultimate climb - before the break is inevitably swept up - he could take over the polka dot jersey by virtual of his better GC placing than Brown.


Brown is still waiting for Politt: I think even he is amazed how much time he took into his fellow escapees. By the time Politt catches him, the four others had rejoined the fray too. So the six-man break is back on - and now the gap is up to four minutes. Polit and Brown share some words - but the big German can't be too aggrieved with how it all panned out. All's fair in love and war, and all that.


The climb levels out and Brown has the luxury of looking over his shoulder, easing up, liberating a gel / energy bar from his back pocket, and roll over the summit to take the maximum two points. And it's a huge lead the American has, with Politt not cresting the summit for another minute. So, Nathan Brown moves into the lead of the polka dot KOM standings - leapfrogging his team-mate Taylor Phinney. That will be two polka dot jerseys in as many days for two different Tour debutants for Cannondale.


Great scenery here in Luxembourg - never knew it was so pretty.


Brown, who is a slight rider, zips clear with a high cadence seated surge. Politt is driving a bigger gear, but he's a bigger guy, and he drops back. The German can't keep up with the Texan, who has opened up a decent gap on this climb by attacking early.


The two leaders are onto the Cat.3 Cote d'Eschdorf, which is only 2.3km long but comes in at a leg-cramping 9.3% average gradient. They have 2:45 over the pack, which is now edging across a reservoir bridge.


Politt and Brown have opened up a 30-second gap over the other escapees - and the advantage over the peloton stretches out to 2:40 accordingly. They're onto a little uphill lip ahead of the short but sharp descent towards the foot of the next climb. And that's the 100-to-go marker. Going to be some tired legs this evening...


Sniffing an opportunity with that second climb coming right up - and this time one with 2pts available over the top - Nils Politt continued his acceleration going over the top of the summit. Brown has joined him and the two riders have a little gap over the four other escapees. The gap back to the peloton is 2:08 for now.


CRASH: Thomas Boudat, the Direct Energie rider who was in the break yesterday, must have touched wheels with someone because he's gone down near the back of the pack. The Frenchman gets going again, but he looks to have hurt his wrist a bit.


Backaert gave the game away when emptying his water bottle on the road near the start of the climb - and the Belgian bounds clear accordingly near the summit. Brown and Politt lead the chase; Brown gives up but Politt could well have just pipped Backaert for the solitary point over the top - we only saw from behind, so it's hard to tell, but judging by how the Belgian reacted with a shake of the head, he's just missed out there. Either way, Phinney stays in the lead of the polka dot KOM competition with 2pts.


The leaders are onto the Cat.4 Cote de Wiltz (3.1km at 4.8%). It's a suburban ascent with houses and gardens either size of the road, plus a spattering of spectators. Expect Nathan Brown to have a dig near the top - he'll want to keep the polka dot jersey inside Cannondale, so if Phinney can't keep it today, then he'll do his best to take the baton.


The riders have passed through the feed zone with the break now on a sweeping tree-lined descent ahead of those two small climbs on the horizon. The gap is still stable at 1:55.


Marcel Kittel, who is in green, didn't get in the mix for those remaining points at the sprint. It's worth adding that it was Nils Politt of Katusha who edged clear of the break to take the maximum 20 points before the peloton came through.


After the break passes the intermediate sprint, the battle begins behind as FDJ move to the front to lead out their man Arnaud Demare. Katusha, Lotto and Quick-Step are looking to get involved as well, while Swift, Colbrelli and Cavendish are in the mix as well. And it's Cavendish who gets some competitive sprinting in his legs by taking the points ahead of Colbrelli, Swift, Sagan and Greipel - the last two riders clashing shoulders, but not maliciously.


Just three kilometres to go now until the sprint, so expect the teams of the sprinters to start jostling for position. The break will take the lion's share of the points, but there will still be nine points up grabs for the rider who takes seventh place - dropping down to 1 point for the 15th rider. Every little helps.


Laurens ten Dam is on the front of the pack now for Team Sunweb, who will hope their man Michael Matthews can spring into action today. The Australian finished ninth in the sprint yesterday - one place ahead of his big rival for today's finish, Peter Sagan. Talking of whom, his older brother and Bora team-mate Juraj, the Slovakian national champion, is tucked in just behind the Dutchman. The gap is down to 1:40 with the intermediate sprint coming up.


Alejandro Valverde has posted a video of himself on his hospital bed 36 hours after an operation to mend his broken kneecap. The Spanish veteran sustained the injury after slamming into the barriers following a fall on the wet roads in Dusseldorf during the opening time trial on Saturday. His loss will be a big blow to Movistar and the Colombian Nairo Quintana. Heal up quick, Alejandro!


The riders have just crossed the border and entered the Dutchy of Luxembourg with the gap still at two minutes. We'll have the intermediate sprint and two climbs in Luxembourg before the race enters France for the first time in this year's race.


Bora-Hansgrohe have one man on the front of the pack - ahead of the Sky train - as they look to control things for their man, Peter Sagan. The world champion has had a subdued start to the Tour, only mustering 10th place yesterday in the first sprint. This kind of punchy uphill finish suits him better, so expect more from the Slovakian showman in Longwy.


The gap creeps over two minutes for the first time in this stage - so far, the peloton has kept the six leaders on a bit of a leash. Richie Porte, who conceded 37 seconds to his big rival Chris Froome on Saturday's time trial, is currently eating something in the middle of the peloton.


Backaert is not the only Tour debutant in this break: Hardy, Politt and Brown are all riding their first Grande Boucle. The other two are much more experienced: Sicard is riding his fourth Tour and ninth Grand Tour, while Hansen is famously riding his 18th consecutive Grand Tour. The Australian has ridden 25 in total, of which eight have been the Tour. With stage wins in both the Giro and Vuelta, the 36-year-old now just needs an elusive Tour stage win to complete the collection.


Belgian Frederik Backaert, who is in this break, is quite an interesting chap. The Belgian is actually a farmer by trade - and right up to the Wednesday before the Grand Depart of his debut Tour, he was milking cows, ploughing fields and cleaning farm machinery. "I don’t see it as work, it’s just two hobbies. It’s good if you can make your hobbies your passion and your passion your work," Backaert told Rouleur. "I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life: not on the bike at least, sometimes in the farm though."


After such a flat opening road stage, it's nice to see some rolling terrain - just as it's rather pleasant to see the sunshine. The road edges uphill towards the intermediate sprint, which is followed by back-to-back climbs; then we get some more rolling terrain ahead of the final climb climbs before the finish. The six leaders have 1:55 so it's keeping stable.


A reminder that the peloton is down to 195 riders following the opening day withdrawals of Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Ion Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida), and yesterday's withdrawal of Australia's Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott). All three riders crashed heavily on the same wet corner in the Dusseldorf time trial - and while the Spanish duo were taken to hospital straight away, Durbridge started yesterday's stage but called it a day after 25km owing to problems with his ankle ligaments.


We should say that Germany's Nils Politt is the virtual maillot jaune: the Katusha-Alpecin rider is 41 seconds down on GC - and this six-man break now has a lead of two minutes over the pack.


Completing our jersey round-up, Stefan Kung of BMC is in the white jersey. The Swiss rider is making his debut Tour and finished second in Saturday's time trial. He leads the youth standings by 20 seconds over Pierre Latour of FDJ and 24 seconds over Andrey Lutsenko of Astana.


By winning yesterday's stage, Marcel Kittel zipped into the lead of the green jersey points classification. The German has 63pts with Arnaud Demare on 38pts, Andre Greipel on 25pts, Sonny Colbrelli on 24pts and Mark Cavendish with 22pts. Today's finish is a punchy uphill sprint, though, and so it may open the door for someone like Peter Sagan - the man we usually see in green around this time of year. That said, Demare knows how to get up a steep incline, so don't rule out the French national champion from FDJ today.


The break has left the motor racing circuit but the peloton is still motoring along, with Quick-Step Floors' Julien Vermote on the front ahead of the white Sky train. The gap is 1:45 for the six leaders.


The race is now doing a circuit of the Spa Francochamps motor racing circuit, which is a bit of a novelty. We've seen some stage finishes on similar tracks in recent years - and on airport runways - but I can't recall laps of a circuit during a stage before.


That point puts Brown in second place in the KOM standings; his team-mate Phinney, who was part of that four-man break yesterday, leads after taking one point over both the fourth-category climbs yesterday. So, Cannondale are all over the polka dots for now.


Nathan Brown jumps clear of the other escapees to take the single point over the top of the Cat.4 Cote de Sart. Hardy tried to chase but didn't have enough in the tank, so Brown protects the polka dot jersey lead of his team-mate Taylor Phinney.


The leading six riders are: Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Nils Politt (Katusha), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie).


After the rain that dampened the Grand Depart - but not the spirits of the mass of German fans who came out to watch - it's a sunny day in Belgium today. The riders will be pretty pleased with that. Meanwhile, the riders have started the first cateogrised climb of the day.


The Hansen group have been caught by three riders so we have a break of six now. And it looks like the peloton are letting this go now, because there's a mass pulling over for a collective call of nature. The gap stretches to above one minute accordingly.


Hansen - riding his 18th consecutive Grand Tour - had been joined by two riders, from Katusha and Fortuneo-Oscaro. They have Romain Sicard of Direct Energie in pursuit, and numerous other riders trying to bridge over.


The big story yesterday - other than Kittel's win - was a huge pile-up that brought down race favourites Chris Froome and Romain Bardet, as well as a cluster of other rider - most notably the yellow jersey, Thomas. This picture says it all...


Numerous riders have tried to have a pop and form the break - most notably Thomas de Gendt of Lotto Soudal. The Belgian is a breakaway specialist and will fancy his chances at taking the polka dot jersey today. But the peloton is giving no favours - and currently it's another Lotto rider, Adam Hansen, who is trying his luck...


Here's what's in store for the riders: five lower category climbs including the ramped finish that should suit the likes of Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews, Greg van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert...


They're off! Christian Prudhomme wave the flat and the stage is underway...


Kittel picked up 10 bonus seconds to move within six seconds of race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). The German is now third on GC. Welshman Thomas, winner of Saturday’s opening time trial in Dusseldorf, retained his yellow with a five-second advantage over Switzerland’s Stefan Kung of BMC.


Yesterday, Germany’s Marcel Kittel won a grandstand sprint to win stage 2 of the Tour de France in Liege after defending champion Chris Froome recovered from a fall. The masterful Kittel gave his Belgian Quick-Step Floors team a well-earned victory on home soil after leaving it late before blasting past rivals Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) for the tenth Tour stage win of his career. Click link below for the full report.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 3 of the Tour de France, a lumpy 212.5km ride through Belgium, Luxembourg and into France from Verviers to Longwy.