The peloton made its way around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit at 22 kilometers into Stage 3.

Photo gallery: 2017 Tour de France, Stage 3

by Evan Hartig

Even with a cleat pulled from the pedal in the final 300 metres, world champion Peter Sagan was able to hold off Michael Matthews and Dan Martin to win Stage 3 of the Tour de France. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider won the 212km stage that began in Belgium, traveled through Luxembourg, and finished in France, atop the 1.6km Cat. 3 climb, the Côte des Religieuses at Longwy.

Sunny skies greeted the peloton for the 212.5km route from Verviers to Longwy, which was contested in three different countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. The route also traveled through the famous track of Spa-Francorchamps, well known for motor racing, but also for cyclocross.

After 10km, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) and Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro) opened a 20-second lead over Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Frederik Backaert (Wanty) and Nate Brown (Cannondale). Before long, it was a six-man breakaway that would spend the day together, off the front. With 57km to go, three bridging riders — Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Lilian Calméjane (Direct Energie) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) — made contact with the six at the front, making a nine-man group.

Calmejane was the last man standing, though he was caught at 10km to go, and the battle for the stage win was reset. On the finishing climb, the 1.6km Côte des Religieuses, Richie Porte of BMC Racing attacked with about 900 metres to go, and opened a gap. However Sagan closed the gap, and went to the front. As he opened up his sprint, his right foot disengaged from the cleat. Sagan calmly found the pedal and clipped back in, continuing his sprint to the line.

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