Start Location: Anvers
End Location: Huy
Start Location: Anvers
End Location: Huy
Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 102nd Tour de France. Stage 3 sees the riders travel 159.5km from Anvers to Huy with racing getting underway at 13.10 local time.
And with that, it's time to bring the curtain down on today's live blog. It was another great day in a Tour that has already served up considerable excitement - and we've only had two road stages.
A quiet one tomorrow? I think just the one-word answer is needed for that: pavé.
Thank you all for your company today and make sure you join us again tomorrow.
Le nouveau maillot jaune...
As we wrap things up, here's our full report from today's stage:
Want to know how the fight for the yellow jersey has been shaped by today's events? Below are the positions of the GC men (so we've taken out the likes of 2nd-placed Tony Martin), along with the number of places they've all jumped up in brackets.
1 Christopher Froome (Sky) (+9) 7:11:37
3 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) (+5) 0:00:13
7 Rigoberto Uran (Etixx - Quick-Step) (+0) 0:00:34
8 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) (+6) 0:00:36
12 Bauke Mollema (Trek) (+18) 0:01:32
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) (+20) 0:01:38
14 Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) (+14) 0:01:39
16 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) (+23) 0:01:51
17 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) (+27) 0:01:56
18 Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (+53) 0:02:00
21 Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R) (+20) 0:02:07
23 Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin)(+32) 0:02:39
26 Romain Bardet (AG2R) (+52) 0:02:54
27 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) (+4) 0:02:58
46 Richie Porte (Sky) (+0) 0:05:48
56 Haimar Zubeldia (Trek) (+61) 0:06:36
60 Pierre Rolland (Europcar) (+110) 0:06:42
62 Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) (+33) 0:06:49
As the riders were out on the road, news broke that the Movement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC) have temporarily suspended Astana after Lars Boom started the Tour despite a pre-race test showing abnormally low cortisol levels.
Such cortisol levels are not necessarily indicative of the use of performance enhancing drugs and only violate the voluntary MPCC's rules - not those of the UCI or WADA rules. Still, not good news for a team under close surveillance.
If you missed the crash, I don't recommend seeking out the replays, even in this age of crash porn. Here's our short report of who was caught up in it and what happened with the subsequent neutralisation of the race.
Lots to dissect after today's stage. As well as all the action in the closing stages and the GC shake-ups, there was that horror crash and slightly controversial stoppage of the race. It's all part of the debate over at the Cyclingnews forum.
"One moment, we're going 70km/h on the descent, next moment there's 40 guys down in front of me." Tyler Farrar on today's nasty crash
@Andymcgra Mon, 6th Jul 2015 17:18:12
A great shot of stage winner Joaquim Rodríguez emerging over the top of the Mur de Huy.
The question on many people's lips after today - and whenever a GC contender takes the lead early on - is whether Froome has acquired the yellow jersey too early.
Here's what he himself thinks:
"Something massive has happened on each stage so far. There have been a lot of time differences. I'm not banking on anything at this point. But for sure I'd rather be in the position I'm in now than having to make up time on yellow. I'm really happy with the standings and hope to get through the next few days without any major issues."
Chris Froome, the new maillot jaune, on the day's events:
"I didn't wake up this morning thinking I'd be in yellow. That was a real surprise. I knew there would be gaps up that climb, but I really didn't expect it to be significant enough to get into yellow. A huge thank you to my teammates today. They turned themselves inside out to keep me always at the front of the race. Today was trecherous, lots of crashes again. Left, right up down all day - not too different from the Flèche Wallonne classic this year. I just couldn't be happier to be in yellow going into the cobble stage tomorrow."
We have new wearers of three of the four jerseys after today. Froome is now in yellow, Sagan in white, and the first polka-dot jersey goes to Rodriguez thanks to his victory on that summit finish. The green points jersey remains on the shoulders of André Greipel.
Peter Sagan is the new leader of the young riders' classification after Tom Dumoulin's abandon. He now wears the white jersey.
Here's what Joaquim Rodriguez had to say after his victory.
"This is a special moment. I won Fleche-Wallonne here and so know the Mur well. It was very different today. I couldn’t get it wrong today because I knew I had the legs."
Here is our initial report. More to follow, along with more pictures and full standings.
Fabian Cancellara crests the Mur de Huy and crosses the line 11:42 behind Rodríguez, a grimace on his face.
Yesterday bonus seconds - and a botched Etixx sprint - deprived Tony Martin of the chance to wear yellow. More cruelty today as the German misses out by one second.
Another great day for Froome, who was really impressive on the Mur de Huy. Just didn't have enough to bring back Rodriguez.
Another remarkable stage. Froome will take huge confidence from that closing climb, and Contador's suffering
@DickinsonTimes Mon, 6th Jul 2015 16:32:48
Here's the GC top-10 after stage 3:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 7:11:37
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:01
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:26
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:28
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:31
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:34
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:36
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:03
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:04
That moves Froome into the overall lead
Froome picked up six bonus seconds for finishing second. That's on top of the 11 seconds he put into Nibali and Quintana
Here's the top-10.
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 3:26:54
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:00
3 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:04
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:05
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:08
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:11
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:11
8 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:11
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:11
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:11
Alexis Vuillermoz comes home in third with Dan Martin in fourth.
Froome now in second, he's catching rodriguez.
Galloping follows. Froome distanced in third
Froome leads on the steepest section. On the S-bend now and Contador is right behind.
Froome brushes shoulders with Galloping and hits the front.
Katusha's Caruso is on the front, Mollema up there, Froome too.
Flamme rouge. Big 4 all well positioned.
Bob Jungels is off the front and leads onto the Mur. Here we go!
The riders are now on the flat in the valley of Meuse. The Mur de Huy beings with 1.3km to go.
Pinot is 11 seconds back.
Roman Kreuziger misjudges a corner and has to go off road. He's upright but out of the reckoning now.
Etixx-QuickStep have cards to play. Tony Martin, second on GC before today, is the virtual yellow jersey and his teammates are probably going to try and defend that. It'll be a tough ask, though. Michael Kwiatkowski might be in with a chance of the stage win.
Julian Arredondo puts in a dig to sweep up the mountain point for that climb. We're on the descent now and things are being led by Rafal Majka of TInkoff-Saxo.
The bunch is thinning on this climb. Rui Costa and Thibaut Pinot have been distanced.
Froome asserts his authority! The battle for positions is on and Froome shoves his shoulder out, refusing to be bullied out of the fold.
The cat-4 Côte de Cherave is 1.3 kilometres with an average gradient of 8.1%.
Tinkoff-Saxo take over from Sky on the front and a couple of Etixx riders lead onto the Côte de Cherave.
Richie Porte is the man on the front, forcing the pace. Geraint Thomas is on his wheel, with Chris Froome in P3. Tinkoff-Saxo are right behind.
We're into the business end of stage 3. Next up is the Côte de Cherave, which featured on this year's Flèche-Wallonne. We may see attacks on the climb but the chances of one staying away to the finish are slim.
Most of the sprinters, including Greipel and Bouhanni, are back in the yellow jersey group, which is now 2:25 back.
Michael Schar (BMC) picks up the solitary KOM point on offer over the top of that cat-4 climb.
Tulik is caught a couple of hundred metres ahead of the summit of the climb as Sky come to the front in numbers.
Angelo Tulik attacks on the climb
Cancellara is almost a minute behind now.
The riders have hit the Côte d'Ereffe and the road has narrowed. The pace slows as the road ramps up and the fight for positions is over, for now.
Cannondale-Garmin hit the front as the pace stays high. They have a prime card to play today in Dan Martin.
Here are the results from that intermediate sprint:
1. Greipel, 20 pts
2. Degenkolb, 17 pts
3. Bouhanni, 15 pts
4. Coquard, 13 pts
5. Cavendish, 11 pts
6. Soupe, 10 pts
7. Sagan, 9 pts
Tinkoff-Saxo are on the front as we approach the fourth-category Côte d’Ereffe, a 2.1 kilometre climb with an average gradient of 5 per cent. After the neutralised Côte de Bohissau, it's the first chance for mountains points in this year's Tour.
This is the arm of Joaqium Rodríguez, who hit the deck in that crash. He was up there when the splits were being made, so it doesn't look like he has been affected too much, though he did crash yesterday, too. A former winner of Flèche-Wallonne remember.
It's all together in the peloton. The pace is high and we're in for a exciting finale.
For once, Dan Martin escaped a race-ruining crash. Let's see if the Irish luck is on his side on Mur de Huy as well. #TDF2015
@mrconde Mon, 6th Jul 2015 15:50:29
Valverde, Pinot, and Bardet have made their way back on after being among those dropped by the pacemaking of Astana.
André Greipel wins the intermediate sprint and consolidates his lead in the points classification. Degenkolb also had a go but couldn't match the German.
Cancellara has been dropped by this high pace. His Trek teammates are ploughing on without him. He won't be in yellow come tomorrow, I think it's safe to say.
A couple more updates from the crash. Ten Dam dislocated his shoulder but, according the Lotto-NL-Jumbo's Twitter, was "popped back in". Elsewhere, Dmitriy Kozonchuk (Katyusha) has abandoned.
It's all together at the front but crosswinds are clearly blowing from the right hand side. It's splitting behind as Astana try to force the issue.
More drama! The racing is well and truly back on and we currently have Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana making a split. They're driving furiously and have opened up a gap on the exposed roads. Can they make it stick?
The peloton is strung out but no one is on the attack yet.
Simon Gerrans, who is out of the race, fractured his wrist in that crash. He's off to hospital for a scan.
The race is back on. The neutralisation is over but there doesn't seem to be much appetite for racing. The peloton is ambling along at the moment. Many riders took the stoppage to move up towards the front and the order doesn't resemble the one before the crash, but there's nothing that can be done about that.
It has been confirmed that the race was halted because of numbers of medical crew. It does beg certain questions - how many down before a race is to be stopped? - and sets a precedent, but it's hard to argue. Riders' safety must come first.
Here's the image from that last tweet. Shows the speeds of the riders through that crash.
We're on the Côte de Bohissau, the first classified climb of this year's Tour de France. There'll be no KOM points on offer, though, given the neutralisation.
Correction. Ten Dam is still in the race.
More trouble! The race is still neutral but bollards appear in the middle of the road and riders have to swerve to avoid colliding with them. There are arms thrown up in the air, not good.
We're moving again. After a 10 minute delay, the riders are following Prudhomme's car and racing will recommence when they reach the top of the Côte de Bohissau.
We're still not moving. Reports are that the organisers took the decision because all the medical staff were back dealing with those that crashed, leaving none to deal with any problems that might happen up the road.
Lots of riders pretty badly bashed up. Johan van Summeren's jersey is torn to shreds, others too endured pretty gruesome slides along the ground. Michael Matthews and Greg Henderson amongst them.
Daniel Oss has cuts on his face and is currently receiving the ice-pack treatment.
As Patrick Lefevere says, this does set a dangerous precedent. Very strange.
@richardmoore73 Mon, 6th Jul 2015 15:10:08
Cancellara is not looking good, it seems there might be something up with his vision. He grimaces but hasn't thrown in the towel just yet.
Laurens Ten Dam, William Bonnet, Simon Gerrans have all joined Dumoulin have all abandoned.
They've stopped the peloton entirely - seen rolling neutralizations before, but not coming to a complete stop - not everyone happy with that
@EuroHoody Mon, 6th Jul 2015 15:06:44
The riders have been halted completely. We're at a standstill as we look to recover from the chaos. Is this the right decision?
You've seen bad crashes in Tour, this one is up there. A FdJ rider seemed first to go down, many riders went catapulting over fallen bodies.
@DavidWalshST Mon, 6th Jul 2015 15:06:17
Big news from that crash - Tom Dumoulin has abandoned the Tour de France. A great shame as he had a real chance of taking the yellow jersey today.
Sky are at the front of the bunch and it looks like the race is back on. But hang on, it's been neutralised again. The race is going to be stopped ahead of the Côte de Bohissau.
The crash was sparked by William Bonnet (FDK) rider hitting the deck. Maybe a touch of wheels. Riders couldn't help avoid him and many ended up ploughing into a lamppost on the side of the road.
The race has been neutralised. And rightly so. An awful pile-up in the end.
Cancellara went over his handlebars in that crash. He's on his feet but is apparently concussed.
Lots of riders taken out in that crash on the right hand side of the road. Lots of horrible falls. That was an extremely nasty one.
Big crash in the bunch!
Puncture for Tony Gallopin
The riders covered 40.3 kilometres in the second hour of racing, making for an average speed so far for the stage of 42.7kmh.
The feed zone has seen the breakaway's lead plummet. They now have just half a minute.
Most riders are grabbing a musette from their team soigneur who are at the road side.
It's lunch time at Le Tour. The peloton is passing through the feed zone.
Fabian Cancellara is hoping to defend his yellow jersey today but he has admitted that he has never raced or even ridden the Mur de Huy during his long career.
Back in the race, we are now 30km from the first climb of the stage.
After the Astana team decided to ignore the voluntary team's association's rules and let Lars Boom start the Tour, despite his low cortisol level, the MPCC board of directors has announced that the Astana team has been temporary suspended until a full board meeting.
It is likely that Astana will then be expelled from the MPCC for not respecting the rules it signed up for and agreed to follow.
Suspension is another blow to the Astana team's credibility after doping cases in 2014 and attempts by the UCI to kick them out of the WorldTour.
As the stage rolls on, we've got breaking news on the Astana MPCC case.
Who do you think will win today? Leave your prediction and see what others think on our forum page.
Click here to join the debate.
The gap remains at around 3:00, with the big teams enjoying the quiet before the storm in the hills and then he finish atop the Mur de Huy.
As you would expect, the crowds along the roadside are huge in Belgium, with lots of beer flowing in the warm, summer weather.
This year Cyclingnews has a daily podcast after every stage, thanks to support from Eurosport UK.
It is free and has expert analysis from our reports on the race, rider interviews and opinion from former riders.
A flat for Tony Martin but he is quickly away again and chasing.
Statistics show that Pauwels has been working the most on the front of the break, doing 27% of the time on the front.
Serge Pauwels' attack was carefully planned by the MTN - Qhubeka. He is the only Belgian rider in the team and so is enjoy a big day out front at home.
He is currently the virtual race leader because the break has a three-minute lead.
Trek continues to set the pace, with the teams of the GC riders also protecting their leaders by riding near the front in long lines, with the leader protected from the wind.
The racing has been steady so far, with the break going clear at kilometre zero and the peloton happy to let the quartet hang out front.
For those who love their tech, the Tour is a veritable feast. You can check out on-bike cameras with live-stream paraphernalia, new aero bikes, and plenty more in this piece here.
The break's lead had creeped up towards four minutes but now it's back down nearer three. That'll be because Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo have made an appearance on the front of the bunch. 3:15 is the current gap.
We're approaching the birthplace of Eddy Merckx: Meensel-Kiezegem. The town is today unveiling a statue of the Belgian, who recently turned 70. The man widely regarded as the greatest cyclist of all time is following today's stage with Bernard Hinault.
Yesterday's maillot jaune wearer Rohan Dennis had a small crash near the back of the bunch. Nothing serious, though, and he gave the thumbs up to the TV cameras.
We're staying within the confines of Belgium today. It is the 46th time that the Tour de France has visited the neighbouring country in its 102-year history. That’s more than any other country. Switzerland, incidentally, is in second place with 20.
The three jersey wearers on today's stage. After today's stage we'll have a polka-dot jersey too.
The advantage of the breakaway quartet appears to have stabilised at 3:30.
Alberto Contador found himself on the right side of the crucial split yesterday. The plan for today? Stay out of trouble. Here is what the Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Sean Yates, told letour.com this morning:
“The number one goal is [for Alberto Contador] to stay out of trouble. It was also the number one goal yesterday but we just managed to find ourselves in the right position to work with Quick Step.
"I wouldn't say there was a plan but yes, we have a bunch of experienced riders who know how to manage that sort of situation. Today, it's not up to us to dictate the race. I'm not saying that Alberto is going to ride conservatively. You don't ride conservatively on the Mur de Huy with riders like Froome, Quintana or Nibali by your side. But for sure guys like Nibali, who missed out yesterday will be eager to make amends.
"Do I expect one of the big guys to win the stage? Well, you have guys like Valverde who already won Flèche Wallonne and holds the record for Mur de Huy, he must be a favourite today. Purito Rodriguez also won Flèche. I wouldn't count out riders like Peter Sagan because it's a reasonably short climb at 2.5 kms and if he has the legs he had yesterday in the sprint, you can't rule him out in spite of his weight. The same applies to Fabian.”
Current recorded speed of peloton is: 45.78 km/h vs. breakaway at 45.18 km/h. Gap between them is 3'27" #TDFdata
@letourdata Mon, 6th Jul 2015 13:15:17
After just under 30 kilometres of racing, the four-rider break has a lead of 3 minutes 30.
Can Cancellara hang onto his yellow jersey?
Alain Gallopin, assistant directeur sportif of Trek Factory Racing, told letour.com this morning: “Today it's a mini Flèche-Wallonne, tomorrow it'll be a mini Paris-Roubaix, which won't be a problem for Fabian [Cancellara]. Today it'll be harder. He's 15kg heavier than other riders. It makes a difference in a climb with a gradient up to 19%. We'll have to limit the losses to keep the jersey or to take it back tomorrow. With Fabian, we never know. He's a great champion. He might be less strong than before but he compensates it with his experience.”
Race passes Eddy Merckx's home in 30 mins or so. He's having a small bash tonight. Just him, a few friends & his 25,000-bottle wine cellar.
@friebos Mon, 6th Jul 2015 13:07:04
Cancellara is off the back again. Another mechanical, perhaps. He's quickly back in the bunch, though, still on that yellow bike of his.
No three kilometre rule in case of crashes today as its considered an uphill finish
@inrng Mon, 6th Jul 2015 12:58:27
We're 16 kilometres in and the four-man break's lead is ever growing and currently stands at two minutes.
Here's the profile for today's stage. It's all fairly gentle until the hills start to appear in the last 50 kilometres.
For the first time in his career André Greipel is wearing the green jersey having won stage 2 yesterday. Click here to read his post-race comments.
That quartet was allowed to go straight away with no opposition and their lead is already approaching a minute. They could be away for most of the day.
Four riders have gone straight on the attack. They are Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka), Martin Elmiger (IAM), Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) and Bryan Nauleau (Europcar)
Here we go then! Cancellara is back on, though not at the front, and Christian Prudhomme emerges from the roof of his Skoda and gets the stage underway.
We've gone through kilometre zero but there is a delay to the official race start as yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara has punctured in the neutral zone!
Etixx-Quick Step were one of the teams to make the race yesterday but ended up virtually empty handed. World Champion Michael Kwiatkowski was awarded the combativity prize but the stage and yellow jersey eluded the Belgian team. Mark Cavendish was rather unhappy after the stage and you can read his thoughts by clicking here.
A yellow carpet and hero's greeting in Antwerp for star of the show Fabian Cancellara.
Cyclingnews has teamed up with Eurosport for a special series of free podcasts throughout the 2015 Tour de France, To listen to episode three, with plenty of interviews and discussion, click here.
And they're off! The riders are on their way and are rolling gently through the streets of Antwerp and the neutralised zone.
André Greipel won yesterday's stage but a big winner was Fabian Cancellara, who moved into the overall lead thanks to bonus seconds that came with his third place. Today he wears the 29th yellow jersey of his career and Trek have treated him to a special-edition Domane. More photos here.
There are just under 15 minutes to go until the peloton roll out. In the meantime, you can catch up with the events of yesterday - and boy was it eventful - with our report, complete with photos and standings.
So, after two days of pan-flat racing, we have some hills in store today as the Tour morphs into the Flèche-Wallonne. The Ardennes Classic is so often decided on the final climb of the short but devilishly steep Mur de Huy, and that's likely to be the case today. You can have a look at what's in store by clicking here.
Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 3 of the Tour de France. Yesterday didn't disappoint - let's hope we're in for more excitement today.