André Greipel rode the Lotto-Belisol train and in Bradley Wiggins’ wake to win the Tour de France stage in Le Cap d’Agde today. Wiggins, in the race leader’s jersey, led the peloton into the seaside town for Edvald Boasson Hagen, but Greipel benefited for his third stage win.

“Sometimes it’s easier to make that effort than to chase from the back,” Wiggins said. “You need to be careful it won’t split, sometimes you can win the Tour by one second or lose it by one second.”

Wiggins leads the Tour de France by 2-05 minutes over team-mate Chris Froome. Greipel collected his third stage win in this Tour, his first after separating his shoulder in the stage to Metz just over a week ago.

Lotto-Belisol was thinking more of its GC leader, Jurgen Van den Broeck when the race left the start in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux. The Belgian sits fifth overall, 4-48 minutes back.

Once he and his team-mates crossed the steep Saint-Clair climb off the seaside, the focus turned to Greipel. Adam Hansen, Lars Bak, Jürgen Roelandts and even Van den Broeck looked after him.

Lotto’s sports director, Herman Frison joked with Cycling Weekly afterwards that now Greipel would work for Van den Broeck in the coming Pyrenean stages. He said, “Why not? You remember how he pulled in the first road leg to Seraing?”

The wind whipped off the beach, where holidaymakers enjoyed France’s national holiday, so riding at the front was the safest place. The peloton split into echelons and Sky emerged at the head with 2.3km remaining. Frison explained that he told Greipel to take advantage of its work.

“Sky came through for [Edvald] Boasson Hagen,” Frison added. “We told Greipel to get on Boasson Hagen’s wheel. Peter Sagan tried, but André won. It was beautiful.”

Wiggins rocketed around the final right hand curve as if he was leading on the velodrome. His objective was two-fold: stay safe and lead Boasson Hagen.

“It was almost like being on the track,” Wiggins said. “It felt a little bit like my [sprint] stage win in Romandie.”

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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 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage

Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last

Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

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: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

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 13 by Graham Watson

Stage 12 by Graham Watson

Stage 11 by Graham Watson

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

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 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live 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