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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Early Tour Lead for France

NOGENT-SUR-OISE, France -- France's Frederic Moncassin had a great day for a Frenchman.


He rode into his wife's home town; wore the yellow leader's jersey that every French cyclist dreams of and carried his daughter onto the podium. What else could a Frenchman ask for?


"I want to keep the yellow jersey for as long as I can,'' said Moncassin, who held his young daughter in his arms on the podium, leader after the third stage.


"I had to stay with Cipollini in the sprint. It was the only chance to win the yellow jersey," said Moncassin, who won the tour's first stage Sunday.


The top riders finished with the main group of racers. Five-time defending champion Miguel Indurain is in sixth-place, 19 seconds back.


In Tuesday's finish, Zabel pulled away from Cipollini and Moncassin in the final 50 meters in the tour's third-straight sprint finish. "I didn't lose my morale and came back today and it's a wonderful win,'' said Zabel, who won two stages in last year's tour.


Cipollini, who won Monday's stage and had a second-place finish disqualified Sunday, couldn't stay with Zabel when the 25-year-old German made his final push. "Last year it was easier for me" when I was unknown and could "race without stress. I wanted to win a stage this year and I am happy,'' Zabel said.


It was another spectacular field sprint, with the challengers beginning the sprint in the final stretch. Classic sprinters like Cipollini prefer to start their sprint between 600 to 800 meters and the longer distance worked to Zabel's advantage.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)