Crashes, heat Katusha played their part in shaping the day's action at the Tour of Oman. Photos by Graham Watson

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Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep) was forced to quit the 2015 Tour of Oman on Thursday after being involved in a mass pile-up that also caught out a swathe of his team-mates and riders from Giant-Alpecin.

Crashes aside, the flat, hot and dusty stage was tightly controlled by the peloton, with a three-man escape group given little in the way of room as the race reached its final 20 kilometres with the pace driven on by the sprinters’ teams.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) prevailed in the bunch sprint to the line in Al Mussanah Sports City, adding another victory to his collection of three stage wins from the preceding Tour of Qatar.

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) finished safely in the bunch to retain his overall grip on the general classification with three stages remaining in the race.

Trek water bottles await stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

A hot day awaited the riders, so teams made sure that they had plenty of drinks at hand

The race holds one-minute's silence for Claude Criquielion before stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

The race holds one-minute’s silence for former pro rider Claude Criquielion, who passed away the day before

Eddy Merckx discusses bikes with Sean Yates and Tristan Hoffman before stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

Eddy Merckx discusses bikes with Sean Yates and Tristan Hoffman

Eddy Merckx and Fabian Cancellara before stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

Eddy Merckx chats with race leader Fabian Cancellara

The peloton on stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

The sparse landscape of Oman presents little in the way of shade or shelter for the riders

Van Hecke leads an escaoe on stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

Preben van Hecke leads the day’s escape

Alexander Kristoff wins stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

Alexander Kristoff took the stage win – although it was a narrow victory

Alexander Kristoff wins stage three of the 2015 Tour of Oman

Classification leaders assemble on the podium, with overall leader Fabian Cancellara (centre) in the red jersey