Paris-Nice 3: Jens Voigt claims the lead

Peter Sagan wins snow shortened stage

By AFP & Cyclingnews.com

Slovakian youngster Peter Sagan of the Liquigas team won the shortened third stage of the Paris-Nice race in central France here on Wednesday.

Sagan, 20, moved up to second place in the overall standings but Germany's Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) assumed the leader's yellow jersey after finishing fourth in the 153-kilometre ride, which had been cut by 50km due to snow.

"I hesitated at the end between wanting to pull clear of the peloton and really trying to win the stage," said Voigt.

"It was a difficult decision to make. In the end I found myself poorly placed with 500 metres to go and I came fourth. But it's enough to take the yellow jersey and I'm very happy with that."

Sagan was one of the revelations of Sunday's prologue, where he finished fifth, and beat Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez and Ireland's Nicolas Roche to the line in a sprint finish here.

The trio led home a small group of riders that broke away less than 3km from the finish.

Spain's Alberto Contador, the reigning Tour de France champion, finished in this six-man group, which also featured Voigt and his countryman Tony Martin.

Contador is now in seventh place in the overall standings, 20 seconds behind Voigt, while overnight leader Lars Boom of the Netherlands slipped to sixth place after being left behind on the final climb.

Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez, meanwhile, was unable to keep pace with Contador when he accelerated in response to an attack from Roche but remains third overall.

The race start, initially set to take place in Saint-Junien, was moved to Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche after heavy snowfall in the region overnight.

Thursday's fourth stage, a 173.5km ride from Maurs to Mende, concludes with the only hill finish of the race.

© AFP 2010

For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

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