Tour de France 2016: Cavendish pips Greipel in photo finish to move second on all-time TDF stage winners

After a slow day, Mark Cavendish claimed his second stage victory of the 2016 Tour de France after a photo finish

Tour de France 2016: Cavendish pips Greipel in photo finish to move second on all-time TDF stage winners
Mark Cavendish pips Andre Greipel to win stage three of the 2016 Tour de France (image via: Peter Dejong/AP)

Mark Cavendish claimed his second victory of the 2016 Tour de France after winning stage three from Granville to Angers

The 'Manx Missile' pipped Andre Greipel on the line after the big German had led out the bunch sprint to the line. 

The victory was Cav's 28th in Tour de France history, moving him second on the all-time list alongside Bernard Hinault, and now just six behind the legendary Eddy Merckx

Cav steals victory from under Greipel's nose

After his dominant win in stage one, the sprint world was on notice that Cavendish was back in form. Having only won one stage during the 2014 & 2015 Tour's, he has already doubled that figure on day three. 

The sprint finish really kickstarted in the final 2km, when a tight left-hander saw the peloton shred as riders struggled to retain their high speeds. 

Greipel's three-man Lotto-Soudal train took over the lead, and released 'The Gorilla' with around 300 metres to go ahead of the slightly uphill finish. 

Cavendish, Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) had the tall German in their sights, but Cav was the only man with the power and ability to match needed. 

As he came up alongside Greipel, the Team Dimension Data sprinter surged for the line, with the pair crossing the line in unison and a photo finish needed to decide the winner. 

Photo finish as Cavendish in green pips Greipel (image via: ITV)

Despite Greipel raising his fist tentatively as if to say he believed he had won, replays showed that Cavendish's front wheel and handlebars had crossed the line first and he was announced as the stage winner once more. 

Coquard finished third, with yellow jersey holder Sagan in fourth, and the other big hitter Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step) down in seventh to go along with his intermediate sprint victory earlier in the day. 

Voeckler saves 'boring' day after joining Fonseca in two-man breakaway

Before the madness of the final few kilometres, nothing more than a gentle pace had been set throughout the day with many teams doing their best just to protect their riders on a long day in the saddle. 

The 223.5km stage which began in Granville is one of the longest in the Tour this year, and the riders seemed content in the knowledge that a sprint finish would allow the general classification contenders a quiet day.

Armindo Fonseca of Fortuneo-Vital Concept was out in the breakaway very early in the day, and was out alone until joined by fellow Frenchman Thomas Voeckler of Direct Energie. 

Armindo Fonseca spent much of the day in the lead in his loan breakaway (image via: Jeff Pachoud/Staff - Getty)

The 37-year-old is a big fan favourite and his presence at the front of the race added some impetus into an otherwise dull stage. 

Unfortunately, the two men were always destined to be captured by a sprint-team led peloton, and the catch finally came in the final 10km before Cavendish roared to victory. 

Stage four may see more of the same styled riding, with the 237.5km route from Saumur to Limoges the longest in terms of distance this year.