Dan Martin escapes carnage of horrific crash to finish 4th in today's Tour de France stage

The day was marred by the high-speed collision involving 20 riders.

Updated at 18.00pm

TOUR DE FRANCE organisers were forced to stop the race during Monday’s third stage after a nasty crash involving 20 riders before Chris Froome sent out a signal of intent to claim the yellow jersey.

Belgium Cycling Tour de France Riders lie on the road after crashing during the third stage of the Tour de France. Source: AP/Press Association Images

A little over 100km into the stage between Antwerp and Huy, FDJ rider William Bonnet clipped the wheel of Warren Barguil in front and went down suddenly, causing a ripple through the peloton that took down scores of riders.

Among them was the leader Fabian Cancellara.

He gingerly got back on his bike and carried on but three riders abandoned, including Australian Simon Gerrans.

Such was the seriousness of the crash that organisers immediately neutralised the race for a short spell as medics and team officials tended to the injured.

Crashes in cycling are common occurrences but this one was one of the worst in recent times with the peleton going full speed at the time of the incident.

Several riders were taken to hospital with Tom Dumoulin, who was third overall at six seconds and holder of the best young rider’s white jersey, among those to abandon the race.

After just over 10 minutes, the race was restarted behind the Tour director’s car on the first categorised climb of this year’s race, the fourth category Cote de Bohissau with 53km left to ride.

Belgium Cycling Tour de France Chris Froome is in pole position after three stages of this year's Tour. Source: Christophe Ena

When the race resumed, Joaquim Rodriguez claimed victory but a second-placed finish was enough for Froome to seize the overall lead.

Team Sky’s leader will take the narrow lead into the fourth stage with Tejay van Garderen (BMC) 13 seconds back and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) 36 seconds adrift.

It was a good day for Ireland’s Dan Martin as he finished fourth in Monday’s stage and he now lies in 20th in the overall individual classification.

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