The German powered to the line, fending off the charge of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), the world champion perhaps weakened by a lengthy, dare-devil chase through the peloton after he was caught behind the crash of Fernando Gaviria with 8km to go.
Sagan tacked onto the back of the peloton 4km later and, before the kilometre banner, was astonishingly near the front of the charging bunch to contest the sprint, courtesy of a signature shortcut at a roundabout.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), with only a three-second lead in the general classification over BMC's Damiano Caruso, tried to pad his advantage in the final intermediate sprint, only to have BMC throw two more formidable sprinters in his path, Greg Van Avermaet and Patrick Bevin.
The race concludes with a 10.5km time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto on Tuesday, with the top 10 all within a minute of each other.
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