Live Coverage of Tour de France - Stage 3

Race overview:

Distance: 159.5km

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.

 

 

Live commentary by Patrick Fletcher

  1. 16:05:47 BST

    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. 

     

  2. 16:04:37 BST

    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. 

     

  3. 16:02:23 BST

    The race has been neutralised. And rightly so. An awful pile-up in the end. 

     

  4. 16:01:32 BST

    • Yellow Jersey

    Cancellara went over his handlebars in that crash. He's on his feet but is apparently concussed. 

  5. 16:00:55 BST

    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. 

     

  6. 15:59:13 BST

    • Crash

    Big crash in the bunch!

     

  7. 15:58:10 BST

    • Puncture
    • Lotto-Soudal 2015 team jersey

    Puncture for Tony Gallopin

     

  8. 15:53:58 BST

    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. 

     

  9. 15:47:50 BST

    68km remaining from 159.5km
    • Break

    The feed zone has seen the breakaway's lead plummet. They now have just half a minute. 

     

  10. 15:39:22 BST

    Most riders are grabbing a musette from their team soigneur who are at the road side. 

     

  11. 15:38:33 BST

    It's lunch time at Le Tour. The peloton is passing through the feed zone.  

     

  12. 15:36:56 BST

    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. 

     

  13. 15:32:01 BST

    77km remaining from 159.5km

    Back in the race, we are now 30km from the first climb of the stage. 

     

  14. 15:30:57 BST

    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.

     

  15. 15:27:35 BST

    As the stage rolls on, we've got breaking news on the Astana MPCC case. 

     

  16. 15:25:25 BST

    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.

     

     

  17. 15:21:32 BST

    85km remaining from 159.5km

    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. 

     

  18. 15:16:36 BST

    As you would expect, the crowds along the roadside are huge in Belgium, with lots of beer flowing in the warm, summer weather.

  19. 15:14:45 BST

    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.

    Click here to listen to the latest episode after stage two and click here to subscribe and hear each episode as soon as it is available.  

     

  20. 15:09:25 BST

     A flat for Tony Martin but he is quickly away again and chasing.

     

  21. 15:03:09 BST

    Statistics show that Pauwels has been working the most on the front of the break, doing 27% of the time on the front. 

     

  22. 14:59:01 BST

    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. 

     

  23. 14:57:53 BST

    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.

     

  24. 14:56:05 BST

    12km remaining from 159.5km

    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. 

  25. 14:49:37 BST

    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

     

  26. 14:44:16 BST

    111km remaining from 159.5km
    • Break

    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. 

     

  27. 14:42:28 BST

    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. 

     

  28. 14:37:38 BST

    • Crash
    • BMC Racing 2015 team jersey

    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. 

     

  29. 14:31:40 BST

    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.

     

  30. 14:30:16 BST

    The three jersey wearers on today's stage. After today's stage we'll have a polka-dot jersey too. 

     

  31. 14:24:52 BST

    124km remaining from 159.5km
    • Break

    The advantage of the breakaway quartet appears to have stabilised at 3:30. 

     

  32. 14:21:07 BST

    • Tinkoff-Saxo 2015 team jersey

    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.”

     

  33. 14:15:37 BST

    131km remaining from 159.5km
    • Break

    After just under 30 kilometres of racing, the four-rider break has a lead of 3 minutes 30.

  34. 14:12:18 BST

    Yellow Jersey

    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.”

     

  35. 14:06:14 BST

    • Yellow Jersey

    Cancellara is off the back again. Another mechanical, perhaps. He's quickly back in the bunch, though, still on that yellow bike of his. 

     

  36. 13:58:43 BST

    144km remaining from 159.5km

    We're 16 kilometres in and the four-man break's lead is ever growing and currently stands at two minutes. 

     

  37. 13:55:52 BST

    Here's the profile for today's stage. It's all fairly gentle until the hills start to appear in the last 50 kilometres. 

     

     

  38. 13:52:55 BST

    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. 
     

  39. 13:46:23 BST

    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. 

     

  40. 13:45:20 BST

    • Break

    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)

     

  41. 13:42:16 BST

    • Start

    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. 

  42. 13:41:11 BST

    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!

     

  43. 13:29:52 BST

    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

     

  44. 13:19:16 BST

    A yellow carpet and hero's greeting in Antwerp for star of the show Fabian Cancellara.

     

  45. 13:16:04 BST

    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
     

     

  46. 13:13:21 BST

    And they're off! The riders are on their way and are rolling gently through the streets of Antwerp and the neutralised zone. 

     

  47. 13:06:49 BST

    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

     

  48. 12:57:31 BST

    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. 

     

  49. 12:52:43 BST

    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

  50. 12:40:54 BST

    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.