World champion Peter Sagan won a disorganised sprint finish to take third stage honours at the Eneco Tour on Wednesday and close in on the race lead.
The 26-year-old Slovak now trails Australian Rohan Dennis by just three seconds in the overall standings.
A five-man breakaway including Japan’s Yukiya Arashiro was caught just 150 metres from the finish line at the end of the 186km stage that finished in Ardooie, Belgium.
Tinkoff’s Sagan weaved his way through the traffic to pip Dutchman Danny Van Poppel into second with Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni third.
Thursday’s fourth stage is 202km from Aalter to Leeuw-St-Pierre.
Results from the 186km third stage of the Eneco Tour from Blankenberge to Ardooie in Belgium on Wednesday:
1. Peter Sagan (SVQ/Tinkoff) 4hr 10min 36sec, 2. Danny van Poppel (NED) same time, 3. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) s.t., 4. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) s.t., 5. Mark McNally (GBR) s.t., 6. Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) s.t., 7. Martin Elmiger (SUI) s.t., 8. Marcel Kittel (GER) s.t., 9. André Greipel (GER) s.t., 10. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) s.t.
1. Rohan Dennis (AUS/BMC) 8hr 35min 24sec, 2. Peter Sagan (SVQ) at 3sec, 3. Jos van Emden (NED) 5, 4. Jasha Sutterlin (GER) 14, 5. Martin Elmiger (SUI) s.t., 6. Wilco Kelderman (NED) 15, 7. Matthias Brändle (AUT) s.t., 8. Primoz Roglic (SLO) 16, 9. Taylor Phinney (USA) s.t., 10. Marcel Kittel (GER) 17.
– Agence France-Presse