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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Nazon claims stage three
Jean-Patrick Nazon (right) edges out Erik Zabel (left) to take the stage victory
Frenchman Jean-Patrick Nazon claimed victory in another sprint finish on the third stage of the Tour de France.

Australian Robbie McEwen, winner on Monday, finished third to take over the yellow jersey from Norway's Thor Hushovd after the 210km stage.

McEwen appeared to be heading for a second stage win but was edged out by Nazon and fast-finishing Erik Zabel.

McEwen leads by a second overall from Fabian Cancellara, with race favourite Lance Armstrong fifth, 16 seconds back.

An eventful stage saw Spaniard Iban Mayo, one of Armstrong's rivals for overall victory, crash after 143 of the 210km between Waterloo in Belgium and Wasquehal in France.

The Euskaltel team leader, who beat Armstrong in the Dauphine Libere race before the Tour, got back on his bike with a deep bruise to his left thigh.

But Armstrong's US Postal team mates Viaceslav Ekimov and George Hincapie immediately set a furious pace, splitting the bunch wide open.

The team did an excellent job and I dedicate this victory to them
Jean-Patrick Nazon
Despite the help of his team mates, Mayo failed to catch the main group and finished four minutes adrift.

With Wednesday's 64.5km team time trial likely to cost him even more time against Armstrong, Mayo's chances of overall victory look all but over.

Italian Marco Velo, who crashed in the same incident, was not so fortunate.

The Fassa Bartolo rider was left with a broken collarbone after being thrown off into a ditch, and his Tour is over.

Nazon, who won the final stage of last year's Tour on the Champs d'Elysees, was delighted with his second stage victory.

"I was well placed towards the front after the cobbled sections and decided to give it everything," he said.

"The team did an excellent job and I dedicate this victory to them. I am very happy."

McEwen had mixed emotions after taking over his first yellow jersey in a major Tour.

"I would have preferred to win the stage but I made my move too early," he said.





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