With Stage 3 staying close to the eastern coastline for much of its 93.5km, teams expected yet more crosswinds today and were entirely correct in doing so: the bunch was split up early on once again as riders battled to make progress - Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) later described it as "seriously one of the hardest races I have done." A group of 28, including all those who went into the race with a reasonable chance of winning, got away and led for most of the day.
In the final kilometres the lead group had been whittled down to a dozen, and as the finish drew near it looked as though Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), who is the only British rider in the race, would also be the only rider able to challenge the mighty Kirsten Wild, despite the Dutch rider's Giant-Shimano squad having kept tight reins on the race all the way. However, Wild's famously powerful sprint proved too much and she had little difficulty in retaining her lead across the finish line to win a third stage for the team. Armitstead was right behind her, taking second place and an identical time, while Hosking was third.
Following bonification, Wild takes back the overall lead from team mate Amy Pieters (winner of Stage 2) and now has an advantage of 9" - and seems a safe bet for anyone wanting to predict tomorrow's results, too.
Stage 3 Top Ten
1 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) 2h27'34"
2 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
3 Chloe HOSKING (Hitec Products) ST
4 Shelley OLDS (Ale-Cipollini) ST
5 Emma JOHANSSON (Orica-AIS) ST
6 Barbara GUARISCHI (Ale-Cipollini) ST
7 Trixi WORRACK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
8 Elena CECCHINI (Italy NT) ST
9 Amy PIETERS (Giant-Shimano) ST
10 Loes GUNNEWIJK (Orica-AIS) ST
Full result: stage / GC