Frenchman Nicolas Raybaud took stage honours after 2000 metres of climbing across 117 kilometres in the Siberian tundra landscape of the Khan Khentii National Park.
Raybaud attacked the bunch relatively early on with Australian Alex Malone, the pair at one point enjoying a five minute lead over race leader Ryan Standish (USA) and the rest of the Khan category until things went a bit haywire by the second KOM.
Alex Malone wrote on the Cyclist Magazine website:
"After surviving together for nearly 80km out front, we were eventually caught by Ryan, Elijus and Antonio Ortiz. In a bizarre twist, in what can only be replied to with ‘this is Mongolia’, Nico and myself were diverted off the course while leading the stage. Shortly after a tourist lap of a random ger camp, we were again back on the correct course but the chase group now had us within sight.
Recognising the mistake immediately, organisers duly noted they would fix the timing at the finish. True to their word, Nico and myself were gifted an additional five minutes at the finish. Nico took line honours while I was actually fifth. It didn’t feel quite right stepping onto the podium but the race decision is final."
Caroline Colonna was the first woman across the line and enjoys a comfortable lead over German Brigitte Jenkner.
Ryan Standish was also able to increase his lead in the Khan category thanks to the time bonus. He will go into the fourth stage with a lead of almost two minutes ahead of Civilis.
Standish claimed his second victory of the race on the 143 kilometre stage in the Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve. He goes into tomorrow's time trial with a 58.9 second lead ahead of Civilis.
Women's leader Colonna finished in 6h17:05.8 today and records a total race time of 25h28:57.4 with Jenkner second overall in 28h59:07.2.