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This allowed Greipel, Sagan and Cancellara to catch up.Greipel later won a very close sprint finish, with Sagan second and Cancellara third. Had he continued, and come in third, his teammate Tony Martin would have taken the yellow jersey.

The only main rider missing was Thibaut Pinot, who not only lost in the split, he also had to stop twice for equipment changes and ended up losing 3' 23" to the stage winner.

None of the other cobbled sectors were sufficient to split the leaders, who prepared for a sprint finish, with riders such as Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb (winner of the cobbled classic Paris-Roubaix earlier in the year) being seen as the most likely to win.

During the sprint finish, Cavendish had his leadout man Mark Renshaw helping him.

However, as Cavendish later said, Renshaw got out of the way too early making for a long sprint.

The stage finished on the category 3 Mur de Huy, a 1.3 km (0.81 mi) climb with a maximum gradient of 19% in the final few hundred metres.

Like in the previous stage, the day's breakaway was formed immediately after the start.The cause for this was the lack of ambulances and the doctor, who were all busy treating the injured riders.Bonnet, Gerrans and Dumoulin abandoned, soon followed by Dmitry Kozontchuk.Instead, the time bonus for his position was sufficient to grant the yellow jersey to Cancellara.Following a sprint at Havelange, the tour went over the category 4 Côte de Ereffe and the Côte de Cherave on the outskirts of Huy.The riders were split into three groups, however the last two of those eventually merged.When the situation became clear, 2nd and 3rd placed Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara, sprinters Mark Cavendish and André Greipel and GC favourites Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Tejay van Garderen were all shown to be in the first group, whilst leader Rohan Dennis and other GC favourites Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana, Joaquim Rodríguez and Thibaut Pinot were all in the second group.Thanks to work from world champion Michał Kwiatkowski (who later received the combativity award for his work), Team Sky, Tinkoff–Saxo and BMC Racing Team, the gap continued to increase, eventually reaching over one minute.This was a clear blow to the chances of those caught in the second group.In the battle for the general classification, Thibaut Pinot of FDJ had one of the best times among the favorites for overall classification, 41 seconds behind Dennis, despite not having a reputation as a good time trialist.Before the start, at km 0, an honorary start in Utrecht, which involved the playing of the French and Dutch national anthems in the presence of Jan van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht, Christian Prudhomme, the race director and cycling legends Bernard Hinault and Joop Zoetemelk.

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