Daniele Bennati won today?s stage of the Giro after a hectic sprint in to Milazzo. The Liquigas rider beat German veteran Erik Zabel after no single team took charge on the tight twisty run in.

Britain?s Mark Cavendish was ninth after twice getting blocked by other riders in the final few hundred metres, although at least he stayed upright as Evgeny Petrov (Tinkoff) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank) crashed in to the barriers on his left.

Cavendish had crashed earlier in the stage after a mass pile up in the middle of the bunch. David Millar came down in the same crash and both riders had to claw their way back to the peloton.

In a later crash Slipstream?s Magnus Backstedt found himself on the deck after a Tinkoff rider got it all wrong on a sweeping corner, causing others to brake and lose their grip on the Sicilian roads that can be treacherous when wet.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008 STAGE THREE: RESULTS
1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 222km in 5hours 37min 1sec
2. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
3. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Serramenti Diquigiovanni
4. Thomas Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5. Alberto Loddo (Ita) Tinkoff
6. Koldo Fernandez (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7. Tiziano Dall’Antonia (Ita) CSF Group Navigare
8. Marlon Perez Arango (Col) Caisse D’Epargne
9. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road
10. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Gerolsteiner all same time
Other British
40. David Millar (GB) Slipstream
94. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld
129. Steven Cummings (GB) Barloworld
137. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road all same time
187. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at 7min 57secs

OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE THREE
1. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas in 11hours 52min 17secs
2. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream at 1sec
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR at 7secs
4. Morris Possoni (Ita) High Road at 8secs
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 8secs
6. Nicki Sorensen (Den) CSC at 17secs
7. Kanstantin Siutsou (Blr) High Road at 18secs
8. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) LPR at 19secs
9. Andrea Noe (Ita) Liquigas at 22secs
10. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld at 25secs
British
76. David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 2min 14secs
117. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld at 7min 55secs
118. Steven Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 8min
126. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at 8min 51secs
135. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road at 11min 38secs
137. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road at 11min 38secs


imageRiders roll out for stage three to Milazzo

imageBritain’s Charly Wegelius chases the break

imageBradley McGee takes a fall – one of many on the stage

imageFranco Pellizotti in pink

imageDaniele Bennati takes the stage after a hectic sprint showdown

All photos by Graham Watson

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain at the last
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery. New photos added daily

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule