GUALDO TADINO, Italy — The classics riders are dominating the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico race.
Mathieu van der Poel claimed the third stage Friday with an authoritative sprint to follow up on wins from Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe in the opening two days.
Van der Poel, the Dutch champion who won the Strade Bianche race on Saturday, edged Van Aert and Davide Ballerini at the end of the undulating 219-kilometer (136-mile) route from Monticiano to Gualdo Tadino.
Van der Poel, who rides for the Alpecin-Fenix team, required nearly 5 1/2 hours to complete the race’s longest stage.
In the overall standings, Van Aert is four seconds ahead of Van der Poel, with Alaphilippe third, 10 seconds behind.
Tadej Pogačar, last year’s Tour de France champion, is looming in fifth place overall, 20 seconds behind. He’ll be expected to contend in Stage 4 on Saturday, a 148-kilometer (92-mile) leg from Terni to Prati Di Tivo that finishes with a major climb and is considered the race’s toughest test.
The sea-to-sea race ends Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.