British time trial champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar) took time trial victory on stage three of the Circuit de la Sarthe to move into the overall lead of the French stage race.
Dowsett has form in the race having won the equivalent stage in 2014, and justified his billing as one of the favourites going into the short 6.8km test, setting a time of 7-49 with an average speed of more than 52kph on the generally flat course.
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That time was good enough to take the win by eight seconds ahead of Movistar team-mate Jonathan Castroviejo, with French road race champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ) in third.
With two stages remaining, Dowsett now leads the general classification by two seconds over Vichot (who also finished second on the opening stage).
Thursday’s stage four offers the toughest test with six laps of a hilly finishing circuit around Pré-en Pail St Samson Mont, before a sprint stage on the final day.