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Tour de France: Mark Cavendish beats Andre Greipel on stage three

Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Tour de France stage three
Image: Mark Cavendish won for the second time in three days

Mark Cavendish defeated Andre Greipel in a photo finish on stage three to claim his second win at this year's Tour de France and 28th of his career.

The pair both celebrated as they crossed the line after Greipel (Lotto Soudal) had led out the sprint and Cavendish (Dimension Data) had pulled alongside in the final 50m.

Overhead cameras suggested Cavendish had nicked it and the race jury later confirmed the Manxman had triumphed by the width of a tyre.

Cav: Equalling Hinault special
Cav: Equalling Hinault special

Mark Cavendish overjoyed after joining Bernard Hinault on 28 Tour de France stage wins

The 31-year-old is now level with Bernard Hinault on the all-time list of Tour stage winners, just six adrift of Eddy Merckx's record of 34.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) finished fourth behind Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) to retain the overall race lead, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) has moved up to one place to fourth after finishing 22nd on the day.

Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Tour de France 2016, stage three
Image: Cavendish and Andre Greipel (left) battle for victory

Cavendish's victory was a continuation of the excellent form he produced to win stage one on Saturday, and he now has an opportunity to complete a hat-trick on a flat fourth stage on Tuesday that should also end in a sprint.

He said: "I wanted to be behind Greipel. Like me last year, after I didn't win the first stage I was hitting out too early and I knew Andre would do the same. I knew he would hit out.

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"Andre had another wind. When I came past I thought I would have it easy, and he went again. It took me by surprise but I am so happy to have got that.

"It was uphill that finish. It was about waiting and waiting. I laid off, got the run and he nearly got it, but I'm super-happy with that win."

Mark Cavendish, Bernard Hinault, Tour de France
Image: Bernard Hinault congratulates Cavendish on joining him on 28 Tour stage wins

Stage three took the riders 223.5km from Granville on the Normandy coast inland to Angers, but after just Armindo Fonseca (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) managed to break away, the peloton ambled along at a farcically slow pace.

Sagan tempted by coffee stop
Sagan tempted by coffee stop

Peter Sagan said stage three was so slow he almost stopped for coffee

Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) livened the stage up by attacking and joining Fonseca, but the pair were caught with 8km to go as the sprint teams at last moved through the gears.

Pre-stage favourite Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step) didn't contest the sprint after his lead-out train collapsed in the final 1.5km.

Peter Sagan, Tour de France, stage three
Image: Peter Sagan chatted with fellow riders on an unusually slow day

Cavendish was wearing the points classification's green jersey on stage three on behalf of leader Sagan, but his victory has taken him to the top of the standings. His total of 123 points is seven ahead of Sagan and 44 in front of Greipel.

Tuesday's fourth stage, from Saumur to Limoges, is the longest of the race at 237.5km. Find out more about the route in our race guide and follow all the action with our live blog from 1pm BST.

Stage three result

1 Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data, 5:59:54
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal, same time
3 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie, st
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff, st
5 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, st
6 Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling, st
7 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step, st
8 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, st
9 Dan McLay (GB) Fortuneo-Vital Concept, st
10 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, st

General classification

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff, 14:34:36
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step, +8sec
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +10
4 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, same time
5 Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin, st
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff, st
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal, st
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st
10 Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step, st

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