It was a day for a cool head, and they don’t come much cooler than precocious Peter Sagan.

After a day littered with climbs and crashes, green jersey Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) charged up the steep ramp to the finish in Boulogne to claim the third stage of the Tour de France ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) and compatriot Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

He even had the margin of victory and presence of mind to do a ‘running man’ victory celebration.

A crash 300 metres from the finish saw Bradley Wiggins held up, but unscathed. Because it occurred inside the final three kilometres, the Briton remains second overall, seven seconds down on yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara.

Crash after crash

Other Tour and stage-winning hopefuls weren’t so lucky. Last year’s sensation Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) shipped over seven minutes and Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) lost nine, as crashes and splits ripped through the bunch in the closing fifty kilometres.

After crashing 50 kilometres from the finish, the first abandon of the Tour was Sky rider Kanstantin Siutsou (Team Sky) with a suspected broken ankle. Losing a valued domestique before a sniff of the mountains is a blow for Wiggins.

Involved in a later crash, Movistar green jersey contender Jose Joaquin Rojas also pulled out, while Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Tyler Farrar were also caught up in falls.

Morkov makes the break again

In front, irrepressible King of the Mountains leader Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Sungard) made the breakaway for the third day in a row, alongside Sebastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Giovanni Bernaudeau (Europcar).

As Morkov boosted his polka-dot points tally, Union Jack flags and British fans were out in force in what was virtually a local stage, a short hop across the Channel.



They will have been pleased to see Mark Cavendish claim the bunch kick for sixth in the intermediate sprint.



While his deficit to Sagan provisionally stands at 43 points, the world champion has opportunities to close the gap on three flat stages across northern France.

Grivko and Morkov were the last survivors of the day, only being pulled back eight kilometres from the finish as the final short, sharp hills around the Boulogne bit in.

Chavanel’s late burst

Hunting the yellow jersey, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) attacked with five kilometres to go on the twisty approach to the city.

The Frenchman’s brave effort was overhauled 450 metres out as BMC sped up onto the short, steep ramp to the finish. Moments later, a rider crashed to the left, blocking Wiggins’s path. Another overshot the final corner later.



Nobody could stop Sagan stomping hard on the pedals and running away with it.

Results

Tour de France 2012, stage three: Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer, 197km

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale


2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky at 1 sec

3. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step

4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan

5. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge

6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing

7. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale

8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank

10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at same time

General classification after stage three

1. Fabian Cancellara (Sui) RadioShack-Nissan


2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky at 7 sec

3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma QuickStep at same time

4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 10 sec

5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky at 11 sec

6. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha at 13 sec

7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 17 sec

8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 18 sec

9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at same time

10. Andreas Kloden (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan at 19sec





Michael Morkov and Andriy Grivko head the five-man escape





Janez Brajovic was one of those to crashon stage three





Chris Froome





Bradley Wiggins stayed out of trouble





David Millar





Steve Cummings





Peter Sagan’s father celebrates



Running man: Peter Sagan wins

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash

Kittel recovering from illness

Explaining the three kilometre rule

Sky’s embarrassment of riches

Rogers back on form and backing Wiggins in the Tour

Martin to continue in Tour despite fractured wrist

Liquigas coach tips Sagan for future Grand Tour win

Cancellara’s win lifts morale in RadioShack team

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 provisional start list



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports



Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne



Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory



Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt



Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

  • Mike

    Nah…..three wins for Cav in the next three stages will open it up again.

  • JD

    It’s a shame but barring accident the Green Jersey competition is over. I wonder if Prudhomme saw that coming after only three road stages.