Peter Sagan made it two wins in three days at the USA Pro Challenge after proving the fastest finisher once again.
The Cannondale rider benefitted from some solid work from his team-mates to haul back a dogged solo move from Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Leopard), and once the veteran German was back in the fold he bided his time brilliantly before wrapping up his 16th win of the season.
The sprint finish was almost a carbon copy of Monday's opening stage and saw Sagan jump out of Greg van Avermaet's wheel before kicking on for a comfortable victory over Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) and Ryan Anderson (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).
Lachlan Morton was credited with the same time as Sagan which ensured the Garmin-Sharp rider maintained his two-second advantage over Mathias Frank (BMC) at the top of the overall standings.
Once again, there had been a flurry of early activity and Voigt helped form a five-man breakaway, also featuring British youngster Josh Edmondson (Team Sky), on the first ascent of the day.
The quintet had seen their lead stretch to over five minutes as they commenced the long drag up Rabbit Ear Pass and that prompted Voigt to make one of his trademark digs for victory. Only Edmondson could mount any kind of response once the 41 year had attacked 54km from home, but after 31km of a determined solo pursuit, Edmondson was caught by the bunch as Voigt forged on alone.
Despite mounting a dogged defence, Voigt was also reeled in in the last 2.8km, just seconds before a crash caused a sizeable split in the bunch. None of the sprint trains were affected as they surged down the long closing straight, and with around 200m to go Sagan produced a devastating late burst that left everyone else in his dust.
Stage three result
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling, 4:04:18
2 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano, same time
3 Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, st
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team, st
5 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, st
6 Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia, st
7 Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk, st
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard, st
9 Tanner Putt (USA) Bontrager, st
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling, st
General Classification after stage three
1 Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp, 11:35:40
2 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team, +2
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling, +11
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team, st
5 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager, +18
6 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +29
7 Darwin Atapuma (Col) Colombia, +35
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling, +41
9 Christopher Baldwin (USA) UnitedHealthcare, st
10 Gregore Brenes Obando (Crc) Champion System, st