Tour of Majorca photo gallery, by Graham Watson>>

Daniele Bennati took the mass gallop and the overall lead at the end of the 182km third stage of the Tour of Majorca in Puerto de Alcudia.

The Liquigas sprinter hit the line a second ahead of a bunch of forty-plus riders after a crash in the final kilometre brought down team-mate Manuel Quinziato, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) and Manuel Vazquez (Contentpolis).

Dutchman Tom Leezer (Rabobank) took second, followed by Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step).

British squad Plowman Craven-Madison again showed they are not in Majorca just to make up the numbers. After Jon Mosley?s sprint into Cala Bona at the end of Monday?s stage, it was veteran Tony Gibb?s turn to show the team?s pink jerseys at the front.

Forming a three-man break after 40km with Jose Ruiz (Andalusia) and Romain Villa (Cofidis), Gibb took an intermediate sprint during the 100km escape, gaining a maximum advantage of 10 minutes 20 seconds on the bunch at the Col de Soller.

The trio were eventually reeled in as the bunch split under pressure from the Caisse d’Epargne squad, but it was Bennati who profited from the final bend crash to take the slenderest of leads into tomorrow?s stage in Bunyola.

Plowman?s team owner Simon Barnes arrived in Majorca today to see the squad in action and was pleased with what he saw.

?It?s alright, isn?t it?? he said. ?Riding with Valverde and the ProTour teams, and it?s the first race of the year. I saw them all across the line and ? apart from Gibby, who looked a bit wrecked ? they looked fresher than they did in the Tour of Britain.?

TOUR OF MAJORCA: STAGE THREE RESULTS

1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 182.6km in 4-27-47


2. Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank

3. Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step

4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne

5. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Milram

6. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha

7. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank

8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Columbia

9. Javier Benitez (Spa) Contentpolis-AMPO

10. Antonio Colom (Spa) Katusha all at same time

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE THREE

1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 11-12-31


2. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 1sec

3. Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank

4. Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step

5. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Milram

6. Arjen De Baat (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof

7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Columbia

8. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis

9. Francisco Perez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne

10. Sylvian Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step all at same time.

imagePeloton on stage three

imageMilram work for their sprinter, Gerald Ciolek

imageBennati wins stage three

RELATED LINKS

Stage two: McEwen wins

Tour of Majorca photo gallery, by Graham Watson

Stage one: Steegmans wins

2009 Tour of Majorca preview