The two-time defending world champion earns the victory in a bunch sprint ahead of Elia Viviani and Jurgen Roelandts.

Two-time defending world champion Peter Sagan notched another victory Friday, winning stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico in a bunch sprint after 204km of racing from Monterotondo Marittimo to Montalto di Castro, Italy.

Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) became the new race leader, with his teammate Greg Van Avermaet dropping down to second. Another BMC rider, Damiano Caruso, is third overall.

“You never know what’s gonna happen,” Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sagan said. “Today was a little bit windy. At the end, a lot of riders came to the finish without legs. The last few kilometers, there was a little bit of crosswind. Thank you for all my teammates, they did a great job today.”

Stage 3, top 10

Top-10 overall

The stage 3 profile showed two climbs and some hilly terrain. Although a group of six riders escaped early in the stage, it was expected to end in a bunch sprint.

The riders in the leading group — Andry Grivko (Astana), Mirco Maestri Luca Wackermann (Bardiani-CSF), Mattia Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), and Nippo-Fantini’s Iuri Filosi and Kohei Uchima — slowly got reeled in as the kilometers ticked away. Filosi was the last one remaining, and he was caught by the charging peloton with around 17km left.

After that, the peloton ramped up the pace on the narrow roads in the Italian countryside outside of Montalto di Castro near Italy’s western coastline.

A host of top riders traded turns at the sharp end of the peloton: Tom Boonen (Quick-Steep Floors), Van Avermaet, and Sagan. For a brief moment, even GC rider Nairo Quintana of Movistar was near the front as everyone tried to stay safe in the crosswinds.

With 3km to go, Sagan was lurking a few wheels behind the front, shadowing riders as he conserved energy for the sprint finish. His Bora team was driving the pace at the front of the peloton with 2km left.

Sagan entered the final kilometer a handful of wheels off the front. Seconds later, he was third in line as the riders entered the final 500 meters.

With roughly 250 meters to go, Sky’s Elia Viviani started his finishing kick, with Sagan glued to his rear wheel. Sagan made his move after they came out of the final left-hand corner, taking the lead for good in the last 100 meters. Viviani was second and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal) placed third.

The race continues Saturday with the 171km stage 4 that starts in Montalto di Castro and ends in a summit finish atop Terminillo, a 16.1km climb that carries an average gradient of 7.3 percent.

Stage 3 results

General classification