Chera - Belgium's
Greg Van Avermaet prevailed in a sprint to win the 194km Tour
of Valencia third stage on Friday with Edvald Boasson Hagen retaining
the overall lead.
The Olympic champion denied second stage winner Matteo Trentin at the
end of the ride from Quart de Poblet to Chera, with local hope Leon
Sanchez in third.
Norwegian Boasson Hagen finished in 14th in the same time of five hours and 16 seconds.
Van Avermaet said: "It's always great to start the season off with a win.
"The team (CCC) did a really good effort on the climb before so it
was down to me to do a good result. I was in a really good position on
the last switchback, it was perfect and I started my sprint and hoped
nobody came round me."
A 10-man breakaway built up a four minute lead during the day, with this group caught inside the final 10km.
In the narrow streets of the hilltop finish Sanchez made a bid for
victory but Van Avermaet was tracking him and surged past at the line.
In the general classification Boasson Hagen has a slender five second cushion from Astana's Ion Izagirre.
Breathing down their necks are Alejandro Valverde, 14 seconds back in sixth, and Ireland's Dan Martin, 19 seconds off the lead in seventh.
Saturday's penultimate fourth stage is a 188km ride from Vila-Real to Alcala-Alcocebre.