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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 July, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Racewatch: stage three
Charleville-Mézières - Saint-Dizier - 167.5km

All the action from the third stage of the centenary Tour de France which took the riders from Charleville-Mézières to Saint-Dizier in northern France. (All times BST)

1545 Alessandro Petacchi hits the front to claim his second stage win.

Romans Vainsteins is second with Oscar Freire third.

Erik Zabel edged Robbie McEwen into fifth.

Jean-Patrick Nazon finished 14th but clinched enough time bonuses during the stage to overhaul Baden Cooke as the overall race leader.

Nazon becomes the first Frenchman to wear yellow since Francois Simon in 2001.

1543 With two kilometres to go the peloton is strung out as they gear up for the final sprint.

1538 The sprinters' teams are massing at the front of the pack as the field anticipates a bunch sprint in Saint Dizier.

1529 Lone breakaway Anthony Geslin is finally reeled in by a speeding peloton with 16km to go.

1520 Anthony Geslin takes the final intermediate sprint as Jean-Patrick Nazon of Jean Delatour wins a battle-royale for second.

Results of Mogneville sprint:
1 Anthony Geslin
2 Jean-Patrick Nazon

3 Jaan Kirsipuu

1507 The Jean Delatour team are driving the pace at the front of the peloton and have narrowed the gap to breakaway Geslin to 2:50.

1450 Geslin - the third youngest rider on the Tour - is within the final 50km with a lead of 3:12.

1438 First Geslin, and then the peloton are held up by a group from the French actors' union protesting about government treatment.

1432 Geslin's lead of 3:05 means he becomes the day's second leader on the road after beginning the stage 53 seconds behind yellow jersey Brad McGee.

1424 With 61km to go, Geslin extends his lead to just over three minutes.

1411 Brioches la Boulangere rider Anthony Geslin builds a lead of about one minute over the peloton after making a quick dash for it at 83km.

1345 Jean-Patrick Nazon of France takes a hotly-contested second intermediate sprint to become the overall race leader on the road. Thanks to the 10 bonus seconds he has picked up today, the Jean Delatour rider is now four seconds clear of current yellow jersey wearer Bradley McGee.

Australian duo Robbie McEwen and Stuart O'Grady claim second and third, while the charging Kirsipuu is blocked out and finishes outside the points.

1342 The trio's brave bid for glory ends after leading the field for almost 45 minutes. The peloton is now winding up for the day's second sprint at 74km.

1335 With the AG2R and Jean Delatour teams setting a relentless pace at the front of the peloton, the gap to the leaders, now just 35", is coming down all the time.

1320 The day's first genuine escape! A three-man group - Carlos Da Cruz (Francaise des Jeux), Maryan Hary (Brioches la Boulangere) and Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - that broke away after 33km are now over a minute clear.

With roadside temperatures now well over 30 degrees and the peloton travelling at over 50km per hour, the trio will have their work cut out to stay away all day.

1300 Despite riders making repeated attempts to get away, a united peloton pours towards the day's first intermediate sprint at the 30.5km mark.

The six-second bonus and six green jersey points are won by Estonian sprinter Jaan Kirsipuu. France's Jean-Patrick Nazon takes second with Robbie McEwen of Australia third.

1245 Two of the Tour's big guns experience early difficulties. David Millar is forced to drop back for emergency repairs to his bike, while Jan Ullrich punctures his front tyre. Both riders are helped back to the peloton by team-mates.

1235 Bettini wins the five points on offer for the day's only climb - the cat-four Cote de Boutancourt - with Unai Etxebarria taking three points for second and current King of the Mountains leader Mengin the single point on offer for third.

The trio build a 10" lead on the peloton but are soon swept up by the field.

1228 The peloton's high pace does not prevent riders from mounting breakaway attempts. Only seconds after the day's first attempt - Jens Voigt and Franck Renier - is reeled in, Italian champion Paolo Bettini makes his bid to escape.

1217 The 196 riders clear the neutral zone and racing officially starts on the Tour's third stage.

1210 The only drama in the neutral zone comes when current polka dot jersey wearer Christophe Mengin drops back to his team car for running repairs. The climbing category leader's bike problems are soon fixed, however, and he quickly rejoins the peloton.

The day's only climb, a fourth category rise over the Cote de Boutancourt, comes early in the stage at the 8.5km mark.

1200 The third stage gets underway in almost perfect weather conditions in Charleville-Mézières. The air temperature is 26 degrees and there is slight westerly breeze blowing. There is an 8km neutral zone before the official start.

Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories


Who is the Tour's leading sprinter?
Baden Cooke
Robbie McEwen
Alessandro Petacchi
Erik Zabel
107 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion




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