March 06, 2012

LE LAC DE VASSIVIERE, France (AP) -- Alejandro Valverde of Spain won the third stage of the Paris-Nice race in a sprint finish on Tuesday, while British rider Bradley Wiggins kept his overall lead.

Valverde held off Simon Gerrans' charge to edge the Australian at the line, with Gianni Meersman of Belgium finishing third.

Valverde won the mostly flat, 120-mile journey from Vierzon to Le Lac de Vassiviere in 4 hours, 36 minutes, 19 seconds.

Wiggins finished 20th and was given the same time as the front three.

He retained his six-second lead over Levi Leipheimer, with Tejay Van Garderen moving into third, 11 seconds back. Valverde improved to sixth, 20 seconds behind Wiggins.

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