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  Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Racewatch: Tour stage three
All the action from stage three of the Tour de France
Stage Three: Metz to Reims - 174.5km. Click refresh for latest updates. All times in BST.


16:16: It is McEwen's second ever Tour stage victory, having won on the Champs Elysees back in 1999. His sprint finish moves him to second overall in the race while Zabel takes over the yellow jersey.

16:13: Australia's Robbie McEwen pulls off a sensational win, coming out of the slipstream of his leading contenders to hold off the threat of Erik Zabel.

16.11: A bunch sprint looms with two kilometres left.

16.10: The Lotto-Adecco team have moved themselves out front for their leading sprinter, Robbie McEwen.

16.07: Bertogliati, the current yellow jersey wearer, has brought himself to the front and is battling for position with the leading sprinters with 5km remaining.

16.05: Durand and Renier are finally absorbed by the pack after about 160km in the lead.

16.01: With 10km to go, the lead is down to half-a-minute.

15.56: There is just one minute between the long-time leaders and the remaining 187 riders in the race.

15.49: Mapei have already made it clear they do not fancy their chances in Wednesday's team time trial. So their riders are lifting the pace, aiming for possibly a second consecutive stage win.

15.40: With 25km left, the lead is down to two minutes. Durand and Renier's lengthy break is getting rapidly shorter.

Jacky Durand in the early stages of his break
Durand made the break after six kilometres

15.36: The Australian is brought back once again into the main frame by his team-mates but he still looks breathless and is being talked to by his fellow riders.

15.29: O'Grady is receiving medical attention once more. He has told the doctors he is being hampered by a high heart rate.

15.24: The two seconds shaved off Zabel's time means he is the outright leader of the Tour de France on the road. He and the rest of the peloton are now 3m15s behind the breakaway.

15.16: Zabel gets another time bonus in the latest intermediate sprint, behind Durand and Renier. O'Grady is back with the peloton but still looks troubled.

15.14: Stuart O'Grady is receiving medical attention. It is unknown what the problem is with the Australian, who is one of the favourites for the green jersey.

15.07: A gusty crosswind is not helping the chances of Durand and Renier whose incredible workrate is beginning to slow.

15.02: Robbie McEwen, Erik Zabel and Oscar Freire are among the riders ensuring they are near the front and out of danger as the peloton gathers pace. They are only five minutes behind the leading duo.

14.51: The front two still hold their lead some way ahead of the chasing pack at seven minutes. There seems to be greater link work between the top teams though now.

14.37: Zabel takes the third spot in the intermediate sprint with consummate ease. No one gets close to him behind Renier and Durand. That result shaves two seconds off the German's overall time and makes him equal in first place with overnight leader Rubens Bertogliati.

The peloton worked to cut the deficit
The peloton have worked to cut the deficit

14.30: Mengin once again sneaks the final place in the second fourth category climb of the day. Renier takes first spot just ahead of Durand but neither rider bothers to battle massively for the accolade.

14.27: Tom Steels has just fallen off the back of the peloton. He struggled during stage two and is now being helped by his Mapei team-mates.

14.15: Durand and Reiner are still pushing as much as possible but their break will undoubtedly end long before the finish. Their advantage has since been cut to seven minutes.

14.02: The leading teams are beginning to work more closely together, the US Postal, Lotto-Adecco and Telekom riders all cutting down the deficit, which has dropped to 9m45s.

13.52: There are 100km remaining of the day's stage, with the lead heading nearer the 12-minute mark.

13.45: The lead is now at 11 minutes and the peloton are spread across the road casually riding through the stage for the time being.

13.33: Jan Svorada sneaks ahead of Erik Zabel for third place in the intermediate sprint and the two bonus points which go with it. Renier and Durand take first and second respectively.

13.27: Erik Zabel shows his desire for a first stage win of the Tour by sending his Telekom team-mates to the front of the peloton.

13.16: The peloton's initial chase has faltered and the front two are pulling out a sizeable gap. Cohesion is needed among the leading teams to avoid the disadvantage being stretched still further.

Christophe Mengin
Mengin took the first climb of the day

13.04: Durand and Renier are still holding their own out front, having originally broken away after just six kilometres. Astonishingly their lead has surged to nine minutes at the 40km mark.

12.44: Depite the efforts of the leading teams in the peloton, Durand has upped the tempo and extended his lead with Renier to three minutes. They are being followed by Karsten Kroon, whose solo break has taken him 40 seconds ahead of the pack.

12.30: That breakaway looks unlikely to last too much of the day, with Lance Armstrong's US Postal team and the Credit Agricole riders chasing down the front two.

12.22: The duo are now working well in tandem and are leading the peloton by one-and-half minutes.

12.12: Jacky Durand, notorious for his attacking style, launches the second break of the day along with Franck Renier and the pair pull half-a-minute clear.

12.06: Christophe Mengin takes the first climb of the day and the six points that go with it. And, as the field briefly scatters, Andy Flickinger makes the first break of the day. It lasts little more than a kilometre.

12.01: The riders finally get away from the starting line in Metz, with all 189 competitors still in the race. The searing heat of yesterday's stage, which affected a number of riders, will not be a factor today with lower temperatures and more overcast conditions expected.

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