LE TEIL, France (AP) Niklas Arndt edged Kris Boeckmans in a sprint finish to win the third stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in searing temperatures on Tuesday.
Chris Froome, who won the opening two stages, finished safely in the peloton to maintain his overall lead of 12 seconds over two-time Tour de France winner and main rival Alberto Contador.
Boeckmans nearly caught Arndt at the line, but the photo finish showed the German had won by the width of a bike tire.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was third at the end of the 194-kilometer (120.55-mile) leg from Ambert to Le Teil.
''I didn't expect to win today because our designated sprinter was Reinardt but he crashed earlier on, so we didn't know if he'd be up for the sprint and we decided to rush to the line with two sprinters,'' Arndt said.
British rider Froome won the Dauphine last year and went on to capture the Tour de France title a few weeks later.
After an early break, a trio of riders led the rest of the pack through the hills for some 170 kilometers (105.6 miles) before being caught. Another eight riders broke away shortly after that, but they, too, were reeled in by the peloton, which remained tightly packed for the final 5 kilometers (3 miles) until the sprint finish.
''It was a hectic sprint after a hard day of racing because of the heat and because we first had to catch the breakaway,'' Arndt said.
Wednesday's fourth stage is a 167.5-kilometer (104-mile) leg from Montelimar to Gap.