Stage 3 of Paris-Nice was another bad weather shortened leg, being run over 118 km between Thiers and Craponne-sur-Arzon. After an early break, featuring (among others) David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Jörg Jaksche (Liberty) and Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery), was brought back with 10 km to go, the peloton began to wind up for a bunch sprint. But a series of attacks in the closing kilometres disrupted the Quick.Step train, and race leader Tom Boonen found himself slightly out of position with 300m to go. The big Belgian had nowhere to move as Vicente Reynes (Illes Balears) burst up the middle of the finishing straight, his unzipped outer jersey flapping in the wind, to take his first ever pro victory. Americans Guido Trenti (Quick.Step) and Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) took the minor placings.
An emotional Reynes said at the finish, "I'm having a great moment of form. It's the right time to take advantage of it, but I can't believe I've done it, it's Paris-Nice!"
Reynes added that Alejandro Valverde, who was favoured to take the stage win today, is still the team lead. "He's a better cyclist than I am," said Reynes, who is now third on GC behind Boonen and Dekker.
As previously reported, tomorrow's fourth stage to Montélimar will be shortened as well. The start will be in Saint-Peray, close to Valence, at 14:00 and the stage will run for 108 km.