A five-man breakaway minimized the number of points available to the sprinters in Stage 3's intermediate sprint, but an extremely valuable 10 points were still on offer for the man who was able to make it to the line first out of the peloton. That got all of the big sprinters up and racing towards the line, and it was no surprise that the man who beat everyone to the punch was a man who has 15 Tour de France and 25 grand tour stage wins, Mark Cavendish.
The lead-out appeared to set up well for Alessandro Petacchi, but the Italian veteran made his move too soon and fell back as the other sprinters picked up steam. Thor Hushovd and Phillipe Gilbert looked good to grab the points at the front for a few seconds, but Cavendish timed his move perfecting and shot past both of them and the rest of the sprinters, going across the line first out of the peloton and sixth overall. The best sprinter in Stage 1's intermediate sprint, Tyler Farrar, was nowhere to be found.
Currently, with 80 kilometers to go, the leading group has a five minute gap on the peloton. They will probably be intercepted, but much later than the leaders were caught on Stage 1.
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