• The world champion is always too good. (Getty)Source: Getty
Rohan Dennis moved into the overall lead in the Tirreno-Adriatico after a late crash in the stage won by Peter Sagan ruined the chances of several riders.
Cycling Central

11 Mar 2017 - 5:39 AM  UPDATED 11 Mar 2017 - 9:47 AM

Australia's Rohan Dennis (BMC) moved into the overall lead of Tirreno-Adriatico race as world champion Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) sprinted to victory in the third stage.

Sagan powered past Elia Viviani with about 250 metres to go and beat the Team Sky sprinter by a bike length.

Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) was third in the bunch sprint at the end of the 204km route from Monterotondo Marittimo to Montalto di Castro.

“The sprint went well for me today," Sagan said. "I remembered last year’s equivalent stage. I was at the front too early and I learned that it was better to sprint from behind.

"Thanks to the cross winds, there wasn’t anyone on [Elia] Viviani’s wheel so I took it. He rode the way I did last year, 250 metres of a slightly hilly finish, it’s a bit long.

"I’m happy to win a stage here. Last year I didn’t but I won the Tour of Flanders after that. The feeling is important. It’s not all about victory or finishing second or third.”

A crash in the final kilometre saw several riders go down, including race leader Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors).

"We were in the top 15 positions, with Fenando [Gaviria] well placed on my wheel, biding our time to move to the front. Suddenly, two guys crashed in front of me and I couldn't avoid them, so I hit the tarmac with my right knee, but it's nothing serious", Boonen said.

"Fernando too went to the ground, and at that point our stage was over. It's a real pity because we were in a good position and Fernando could have done a good sprint."

They were all given the same time, but Dennis moved above his teammate in the standings because of a better finishing position after starting the day in second.

Dennis is the third BMC rider to lead the race. Damiano Caruso, who was third overall, was first after the opening team time trial.

Tejay van Garderen will aim to be next on Saturday's mountainous 187km stage from Montalto di Castro to Monte Terminillo.

“I’m not sure how the crash happened," Dennis said. "I was just behind it and I saw many riders putting their brakes on. I managed to pass guys who were on the ground and that’s why I have the leader’s jersey instead of Greg.

"It’s the bad side of cycling. Coming here is more about using Tirreno-Adriatico as a stepping stone towards the Giro and getting used to the roads that are our challenges in May. Tejay [van Garderen] is our main leader, I’m the reserve.”