Stage three of the BinckBank Tour took place over 167 kilometres around Aalter, with five cobblestone sections and numerous narrow twists and turns to contend with before the expected sprint showdown.
The early stages of the race were animated by a leading quartet, who opened up a two minute advantage after just 17 kilometres of racing. A puncture for one meant that three would go forward in the break, with their lead cut short with 73 kilometres of racing still remaining. Fresh attackers tried their luck and another group of three were able to break clear, however their lead never went up over a minute and sprint team’s ambitions meant that the race would come back together with three to go.
Road conditions caused a lot of punctures in the last 20 kilometres of action, with Søren Kragh Andersen one of the victims. Attention turned to the sprint as he rejoined the bunch, and the fast men’s teams took up the pace at the head of affairs with the narrow roads making positioning even more important. A photo finish decided the stage honours, with Team Sunweb all home safely after a tricky finale.