Nikias Arndt wins bunch sprint as Chris Froome safely keeps overall race lead

Nikias Arndt (Giant-Shimano) won the bunch sprint as the end of a hot and hectic stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine in France on Tuesday.

Arndt pipped Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Belisol) to the line in a photo-finish, with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano) in third.

Chris Froome (Sky) finished safely in the peloton to retain his overall lead in the race, 12 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). British rider Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) also retained his ninth place overall.

The break of the day consisted of Natnael Berhane (Europcar), Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) and Blel Kadri (Ag2r), with the trio caught by the Sky-led peloton with 24km to go.

After a short lull in the action, veteran Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) launched an attack inside the final 20km, dragging a group of seven riders with him and they quickly opened up a big gap.

Behind, there was an element of panic as Omega Pharma-QuickStep and then Katusha took up the chase for their respective sprinters. The remaining riders from the move were swallowed up inside the final six kilometres to set up a bunch sprint.

Wednesday’s stage four to Gap could see some action from the overall contenders, with the second-category Col de Manse climb positioned just 10 kilometres before the finish. Cycling Weekly will be covering the stage with live text updates and interactive chat from around midday.

Results
Criterium du Dauphine 2014, stage three: Ambert to Le Teil, 194km

1. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 5-30-03
2. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
3. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Giant-Shimano
4. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
5. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha
8. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
9. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
10. Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale all same time

Overall classification after stage three
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky in 10-07-47
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 12 secs
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 21 secs
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 33 secs
5. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 35 secs
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 50 secs
7. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing at 1-22
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1-22
9. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-31
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1-35

Chris Froome on stage three of the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine

Chris Froome on stage three of the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine

Blel Kadri leads an escape on stage three of the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine

Blel Kadri leads an escape on stage three of the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine