Liquigas-Cannondale rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia (R) reacts as he wins the third stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Orchies and Boulogne sur mer, July 3, 2012. (REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)
By Gilles Le Roc’h
BOULOGNE SUR MER, France, July 3 (Reuters) – Slovakia’s Peter Sagan accelerated away at the finish to win a third stage of the Tour de France laced with thrills and spills on Tuesday.
The Liquigas rider burst away from his rivals on the uphill climb at the end to pip Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky by one second. Another Slovak, Peter Velits, was third for Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
Sagan also won the first stage on Sunday.
Race favorite Bradley Wiggins escaped unhurt after being involved in a mass pile-up on the final corner.
The Briton crossed the line about 30 seconds behind the winner but was credited with the same time as Boasson Hagen because the incident occurred in the last three kilometers.
Swiss Fabian Cancellara was fourth in the stage and retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
The 197-km journey from Orchies was marred by crashes, Wiggins losing Sky team mate Kanstantsin Siutsou when the Belarussian was forced out of the race after falling off his bike around 50-km from the finish.
Another pile-up on the tight country roads of northern France later also led to Movistar’s Jose Joaquin Rojas, second in the points classification in last year’s race, withdrawing.
Wednesday’s fourth stage is a 214-km ride from Abbeville to Rouen.