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