First year professional Borut Bozic (LPR) powered to a bunch sprint victory in Ennis on Friday, outshining early attacker Baden Cooke (Unibet.com) in the mass charge that decided the race.
Second in the bunch sprint that decided stage three was Bernhard Eisel of T-Mobile, with Maximiliano Richeze (Panaria) taking the third place on the 194 kilometre stage.
A six man move by Ben Day (Navigators), Moises Aldape (Panaria), Patrick McCarty (Slipstream), Zakkari Dempster (SouthAustralia.com), Edvald Boasson (Maxbo) and Dennis Van WInden (Rabobank) formed the break of the day after around an hour?s racing.
After Unibet.com did the spadework of keeping the move under control for their race leader Stijn Vandenbergh, with 40 kilometres to go CSC, gunning for a second successive win for sprinter Matti Breschel upped the pace still further.
The half-dozen were reeled in 10 kilometres from the line, and with CSC turning on the gas yet again, it was clear that a bunch sprint was in the offing.
Cooke went for broke 600 metres from the line on the fast downhill finish, but Bozic calculated his move slightly better for a strong sprint win.
A first year pro, Bozic won no less than 19 races in his last year as an amateur, including five of the Tour of Cuba and two of his home stage race, the Tour of Slovenia. Clearly a rider to watch in the future.
Looking a little closer ahead, stage four of Ireland, a 232 kilometre mountainous loop starting and finishing in Galway, looks set to decide the race.
?CSC have clearly got the bit between their teeth and they will be going all out on Saturday. It?s their one big chance to dislodge the leader.? commented recycling.co.uk?s director on the race, John Herety.
?They?re sure to have a good plan, and you can always count on CSC to stick to it. There?ll be fireworks, for sure.?
Tour of Ireland 2007: Stage three: Tralee – Ennis 194 km
1 Borut Bozic (Slo) LPR 4-21-11
2 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) T-Mobile
3 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Panaria
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com
5 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) South Australia.com
6 Matti Breschel (Den) CSC
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Maxbo
8 Martijn Maaskant (Hol) Rabobank Continental
9 Sergey Lagutin (Ukr) Navigators
10 Sven Nys (Hol) Rabobank Continental all st
1 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Unibet.com 12-20-08
2 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) CSC at 20sec
3 Aaron Olson (USA) T-Mobile at 21sec
4 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) South Australia.com at 24sec
5 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Maxbo at 25sec
6 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Unibet.com at 27sec
7 Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators at 28sec
8 Craig Lewis (USA) Slipstream at st
9 Glenn Bak (Den) Murphy & Gunn at 43sec
10 Matti Breschel (Den) CSC at 13-15