New Zealand's Patrick Bevin moved into overall lead at the Tour of Britain despite being pipped to the finish line by stage three winner Julian Alaphilippe on Tuesday.
Quick-Step Floors rider Alaphilippe, who won the King of the Mountains prize at the recent Tour de France, held off BMC Racing's Bevin and ONE Pro Cycling's Emils Liepins to win a reduced bunch sprint in Bristol.
Green jersey holder Bevin is level on time with Australia's Cameron Meyer, the Mitchelton-Scott rider who won the Tour's second stage on Monday.
"You can't get better than leading the race. If we can hold it tomorrow, we'll see how things shake out," Bevin said.
"Every kilometre today was tough. The guys did a great job, we got it right over the final climb.
"The stage win would have been really nice, but we're still in the hunt for the overall."
Frenchman Alaphilippe is just two seconds behind Bevin and Meyer in the general classification.
"I'm happy to win, especially today as it's my first race after a good break. In the end I was in a really good position. Bob (Jungels) did a really good job and voila!" Alaphilippe said.
The fourth stage will be held on Thursday over a distance of 183.5km from Nuneaton to Leamington Spa.
Leading positions after stage 3 (Bristol - Bristol, 125 km): 1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Quick-Step Floors) at 2hr 47min 41sec, 2. Patrick Bevin (NZL/BMC Racing Team) at same time, 3. Emils Liepins (LAT/ONE Pro Cycling) s.t., 4. Ethan Hayter (GBR/Great Britain) s.t., 5 Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto Soudal) s.t.
Leading general classification after stage 3: 1. Patrick Bevin (NZL/BMC Racing Team) at 11hr 3min 11sec, 2. Cameron Meyer (AUS/Mitchelton-Scott) at same time, 3. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Quick-Step Floors) at 2sec, 4. Jasha Sutterlin (GER/Movistar Team) at 12sec, 5. Wout Poels (NED/Team Sky) at same time