- - Updated GC
- - Full stage result
- - Fabian Cancellara reclaims the yellow jersey after another dramatic day. He leads Geraint Thomas by 23 seconds on GC with Evans (39 secs); Hesjedal (46 secs) and Chavanel (1:01) completing the top five. Andy Schleck has a 31 second advantage over Alberto Contador on GC.
- - Wiggins was in that second group, finishing eighth on the stage at 53 seconds. Armstrong, Ivan Basso and Mick Rogers are in group five with the yellow jersey of Chavanel in the sixth group on the road. We will give you all the time splits as soon as we have them.
16:30 - VICTORY FOR THOR HUSHOVD!! The Norwegian powers home ahead of Britain's Thomas with Evans and Hesjedal following ahead of the two Saxo Bank riders. The gap back to the second group which features Menchov is under a minute with Vinokourov pushing the pace at the front of the chase group, seemingly unaware that Contador has lost contact in the final kilometre. Roman Kreuziger and David Millar come home in the third group with Petacchi, O'Grady and Cavendish in the fourth group on the road.
1km - Under the Flamme Rouge and this will be a six-man sprint.
2km - Cancellara is on course to regain the yellow jersey.
3km - Armstrong has joined up with a group after a brave solo effort and that will help limit his losses.
4km - Hushovd has no interest in working as Cancellara drives the pace. The yellow jersey is 3:25 back.
5km - Hesjedal-Cancellara-Schleck-Evans-Thomas-Hushovd under the 5km banner with a 38 second lead over the Contador group with Armstrong a further 1:11 back.
6km - Hesjedal is caught by the Cancellara-A Schleck-Evans-Thomas-Hushovd group.
7km - A second puncture for Chavanel, the maillot jaune is under real threat.
8km - Hesjedal is in search of the second Canadian victory in the Tour de France. He has recorded one Grand Tour win in the Vuelta a España in 2009.
9km - The final section, Haveluy, with 10km remaining has a maximum five-star difficulty and is 2.3km long. Hesjedal led by 25 seconds on entering with the Contador group just 16 seconds back. That is different information than that originally provided by race radio. The Armstrong group is 1:44 back from the leader.
10km - Denis Menchov and Nicolas Roche are in the Contador group while Jurgen Roelandts crashes going around a corner.
12km - Hesjedal still leads from the Cancellara-A Schleck-Evans-Thomas-Hushovd group. Andy has put two minutes into Contador!
14km - Armstrong opted to ride in the left-hand gutter and that move cost him. Now Chavanel gets a front wheel puncture but is quickly handed a new bike.
16km - Armstrong punctures!
18km - The penultimate section of cobbles is the longest, Wandignies-Hamage is 3.7km long. Entering the pave, Hesjedal leads by 37 seconds with the Armstrong group 24 seconds back on that and the Contador group a further 40 seconds adrift.
20km - Hesjedal still leads after Tilloy-lez-Marchienne, the 2.5km long fourth section of cobbles. Fabian Cancellara, Andy Schleck, Geraint Thomas, Juan Antonio Flecha, Thor Hushovd, Cadel Evans and Steve Cummings are in the nine-man chase group, Lance Armstrong is in the second group, Alberto Contador, Sylvain Chavanel and Bradley Wiggins in the third bunch.
25km - CRASH!! Frank Schleck is lying on the ground and that is the end of his race. He loses control on the crown of the bend in the Sars-et-Rosieres section and has not moved with team-mate Jens Voigt shaking his head. Fabian Cancellara leads the field and comes through the 2.4km section within 22 seconds of the leader Ryder Hesjedal.
30km - The riders are about to hit the Sars-et-Rosieres pave, which is a three-star rated section of cobbles and that is a bad time for Andreas Kloden to puncture. Saxo Bank and Cervelo setting the tempo as the advantage of the escape group is reduced to 30 seconds.
35km - Damiano Cunego and Charlie Wegelius find themselves in the hedge after crashing at a corner following the second section of cobbles. The third section of cobbles at Rongy. is only 700m and no problems for any of the favourites yet with the gap to the leading seven now under a minute.
40km - Matti Breschel on the front as five Saxo Bank riders lead the peloton as they go through the 1.2km second section of cobbles at Hollain. Alberto Contador is in the front 30 or so riders as the gap to the leaders is reduced to around 1:15.
45km - Kluge won the third intermediate sprint in Pipaix ahead of Brutt and Erviti. The Milram rider picked up the maximum of 18 points today.
50km - Mark Cavendish has punctured but should latch on to the back of the peloton before we hit the Hollain cobbles.
55km - Not everyone is convinced that the cobbles are necessary. "I'd rather have had a team time trial than cobbles," said Lance Armstrong's team director Johan Bruyneel. "It's risky and there's a chance you can lose a Tour contender in the first week. Yet one thing is for sure, Lance normally tackles the cobbles better than Contador."
60km - The pace has increased dramatically in the peloton with the specialists moving to the front as we approach the business end of the stage with 12.8km of pave over the last 44km. The gap for the long-time breakaway is now under two minutes.
65km - GC contender Robert Gesink suffered a hairline fracture in his left arm in yesterday's carnage. He said: "I was in a lot of pain yesterday after the crash. It was really an unexpected tumble. One rider thought he could pass me when there was really no room. He fell and took me down with him."
70km - CRASH!! Simon Gerrans clips the wheel of a rider in front and goes down hard. He has an injury to his face where he was spiked by his own pedal but is back up and riding.
75km - During the Tour de France we are giving away a Specialized bike worth £3,500. Win a Specialized bike (offer only open to residents of UK and Ireland).
80km - Cummings of Team Sky is still out in front in his maiden Tour de France. He won Olympic track silver in the team pursuit in 2004 and a year later he was part of the British team that won the world title in the same discipline.
85km - The seven escapees hit the first 350m section of cobbles at Ormeignies with a lead of just under two minutes. Massive crowd line the pave as RadioShack lead the peloton through without any real concerns.
90km - Aleksandr Kolobnev has torn shorts after the crash but all of the other riders involved appear ok.
95km - CRASH!! David LeLay clips the curb in a temporary lapse of concentration and hits the ground hard. It is a typical collarbone injury and he becomes the eighth rider to abandon. About eight riders landed in the ditch as we fast approach the first set of cobbles.
100km - While the Tour de France will probably be won on the gruelling third week Tourmalet climb, Mayo proved it can equally be lost on the cobblestones. "It's going to be dangerous, it's going to be risky," said Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis. "It will be great fun to watch, fun for television, but it won't be fun on the road."
105km - It is exactly six years ago since the Tour de France last visited the route of the famous cobblestone classics. On July 6, 2004, French sprinter Jean-Patrick Nazon won the stage from Belgian Waterloo to French Wasquehal. Spanish Iban Mayo, who started as one of Lance Armstrong's challengers, lost almost four minutes after a crash in a dash by the main pack to be the first on a coblestone section.
110km - FDJ team director Marc Madiot, who won Paris-Roubaix twice, said his main concern was the inexperience of most of the Tour riders. "The main problem is that two thirds of the peloton never rode the Tour of Flanders or Paris Roubaix and there's going to be a lot of stress," he said.
115km - Most of the favourites checked the stage finish several times, especially those like defending champion Alberto Contador who are not familiar with one-day classics held on cobbles in Roubaix or on the Tour of Flanders. Contador trained on the course with former Roubaix winner Peter van Petegem of Belgium, who said he was impressed by the Spaniard's agility.
120km - The Tour is returning to the cobbles for the first time in 2004 but this year's pavé is closer to the finish so the impact on the GC is likely to be limited. Cancellara and Menchov on the cobblestones
125km - You can watch the race now LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and on the Eurosport Player
130km - Roger Kluge has won the second intermediate sprint in Nivelles ahead of Rolland and Erviti.
135km - Quick Step are on the front of the peloton and have reduced the gap by a minute. Hesjedal was hoping to become the first Canadian rider since Steve Bauer in 1990 to wear the yellow jersey but that is a forlorn hope.
140km - And you can get the views of Blazin' Saddles on the events yesterday in his latest blog. Might as well blame it on BP
145km - Hesjedal is the best ranked rider of the seven leaders in this third stage. The Canadian is 3:43 minutes behind the yellow jersey in 27th place. The gap is currently 4:25 back to the peloton.
150km - Today's only climb was the fourth category Coye de Bothey, a 1.4km climb at 3.4%, and it was 1. Hesjedal 3 pts, 2. Cummings 2 pts, 3. Auge 1 pt. Jerome Pineau will stay in the polka dot jersey. KOM Classification
155km - Back to the stage and Roger Kluge (Milram) has won the first intermediate sprint ahead of Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) and Steven Cummings (Team Sky). Yesterday's winner Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) is holding the sprint jersey with 44 points.
160km - So what do you think, were the riders right or wrong to protest. Go to the microsite home page to vote in the online poll
165km - But Milram manager Gerry van Gerwen was not too pleased: "The riders themselves made that decision, to show their respect for the crashed riders. But you must also see the other side. The fans, who stand along the road to see cycling, and for the sponsors and the race organizers, who invest so much in the Tour de France - they also deserve respect." Cervelo's Jeremy Hunt also questions the decision
170km - But all the talk has been about the mini-protest staged by the peloton after rain and an oil spill combined to make the roads ultra slippery. Spilled oil from a motorbike which crashed ahead of the peloton on the second stage was suspected of being the main cause of crashes involving dozens of riders and the decision not to chase Chavanel nor contest the sprint for second has divided opinion amongst riders, managers and fans alike. Fabian Cancellara explains his reasons for organising the protest:
175km - Chavanel of France leads Cancellara by 2:57 going into today's stage. Full GC listings
180km - Sylvain Chavanel's Tour de France chances were nearly ruined by a crash two months ago but more drama on the same Belgian roads gave him the race leader's jersey after the second stage yesterday. Video: Highlights
185km - Hesjedal initiated the attack at the 13km mark and the lead has quickly blown out to three minutes.
190km - We have an early escape featuring Britain's Steven Cummings (Sky). Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions), Pavel Brutt (Katusha), Robert Kluge (Milram), Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Imanol Erviti (Caisse d'Epargne) and Stéphane Auge (Cofidis) are with the man from the Wirral.
195km - If you have to pop out - here's the timetable with the seven cobbled sections beginning at around 2:30pm UK time: Ormeignies (350 meters) at km 128, Hollain (1200m) at km 169, Rongy (700m) at 173, Sars-et-Rosieres (2400m) at km 185, Tilloy-lez -Marchienne (2500m) at km 188, Wandignies-Hamage (3700m) at km 195 and Haveluy (2300m) at km 203. Itinerary
200km - There are only 191 riders in the race as Niki Terpstra of Milram has been forced out of the race with a virus. Start List
205km - After several pile-ups on the road to Spa yesterday, the peleton refused to sprint to the finish line. But there has only been one direct casualty with Christian Vande Velde not starting after breaking two ribs in the second stage. Garmin were really in the wars yesterday as sprinter Tyler Farrar hurt his wrist and the effort on the cobbled sectors may prove too much for the American. David Millar has a bruised rib and New Zealand's Julian Dean suffered a bruised back but both start. Garmin-Transitions statement
210km - We are racing! The first cobbled sector is at 128km but the most dangerous are the last five, all back on French soil, a homecoming that will not please many riders if it rains again. It is currently cloudy but not wet. Weather forecast
11:35 - The pack is riding through the neutral zone ahead of the 210km third stage of the Tour de France between Wanze and Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut which, after a crash-filled opening to the race, promise more tensions with seven cobblestone sectors.