Norway’s in-form Alexander Kristoff, who picked up three stages last week in Qatar, came out on top in a bunch sprint to Thursday’s Tour of Oman third stage.
The Katusha rider was followed home by Italian duo Andrea Guardini and Matteo Pelucchi at the end of the 158.5km ride around Al Mussanah Sports City.
“The team is good, our ‘work rhythm’ is working well and that gives me a lot of confidence,” said Kristoff.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara retained the lead in the overall standings, 4sec clear of Spain’s Alejandro Valverde and 5sec up on Austria’s Patrick Konrad.
Kristoff added: “Danny Van Poppel (4th) started his sprint a little too early, he had a strong headwind and I was able to overtake him.
“I saw that Guardini was close but I managed to keep him behind me.”
Friday’s fourth stage features a summit finish in Jabar al Akhdhar.
Results from the third stage of the Tour of Oman, a 158.5km ride around Al Mussanah Sports City, on Thursday:
1. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) 3hr 56min 42sec, 2. Andrea Guardini (ITA/AST) s.t., 3. Matteo Pelucchi (ITA/IAM) s.t., 4. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/COF) s.t., 5. Danny Van Poppel (NED/TFR) s.t., 6. Sacha Modolo (ITA/LAM) s.t., 7. Matti Breschel (DEN/TCS) s.t., 8. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED/TGA) s.t., 9. Tom Boonen (BEL/EQS) s.t., 10. Adam Blythe (GBR/OGE) s.t.
11. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) s.t., 33. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t., 40. Peter Sagan (SVK/TCS) s.t., 50. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/TFR) s.t.,
Overall (after three of six stages)
1. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/TFR) 12 hr 18 min 56sec, 2. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) at 04, 3. Patrick Konrad (AUT/BOA) 05, 4. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 06, 5. Peter Sagan (SVK/TCS) 10, 6. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 10, 7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 10, 8. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) 10, 9. Rafael Valls (ESP/LAM) 10, 10. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 10,
20. Tom Boonen (BEL/EQS) 50, 29. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 56, 42. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 1:05, 48. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) 1:31
– Agence France-Presse