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Garcia Cortina defies Sagan in Paris-Nice sprint

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La Châtre (France) (AFP)

Spain's Ivan Garcia Cortina of the Bahrain-McLaren team took advantage of a late crash to win a bunch sprint on stage three of the Paris Nice cycling race on Tuesday.

Germany's Maximilian Schachmann (Bora Hansgrohe) retains the overall lead after coming home in 13th place and after his opening stage win on Sunday.

The late fall caused a wave of panic as Garcia Cortina and Slovak superstar Peter Sagan reacted first, speeding across the line first and second after a long 212.5km ride in wind and rain.

Irish sprinter Sam Bennett and Frenchman Hugo Hofstetter got tangled up after the latter hit a barrier just a couple of hundred metres from home on a crash-filled day.

The 24-year-old Garcia Cortina, a stage winner on the Tour of California, won with relative ease after 5hrs 49mins55sec.

The early action on Tuesday was dominated by Belgian rider Tom Devriendt of Circus Wanty Gobert, who embarked on a 180km solo break where he led by over seven minutes before being reeled in with 30km to go.

Wednesday's fourth stage is a 15.1km individual time trial around the town of Saint-Amand-Montrond, birthplace of French ace Julian Alaphilippe.

The race then heads into hilly terrain before culminating with two mountainous stages at the weekend.

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