Liquigas' Daniele Bennati scored his first win of the season at the Challenge Mallorca yesterday, breaking Katyusha's stranglehold on the event thus far. Bennati was lucky to avoid a crash in the final bend which took out Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, and powered to the win with a one second time gap over Rabobank's young Dutch sprinter, Tom Leezer and Quick Step's new recruit, Jérôme Pineau.
Previous stage winners Robbie McEwen and Gert Steegmans were notable absences from the third day of racing, leaving the door open for the likes Caisse d'Epargne's José Joaquin Rojas and Milram's Gerald Ciolek to notch up their first victories of 2009.
It wasn't to be, with Bennati proving his preparations for May's Giro d'Italia seem to be on track. The classy sprinter now heads the GC standings with two days of racing remaining.
Check out Cyclingnews' full coverage of the 18th Challenge Volta a Mallorca.