Italy's Alessandro Petacchi took over as Giro d'Italia leader after timing his burst to perfection and winning the third stage.
The sprinter, who also took yesterday's's second stage, crossed the line at Valdobbiadene in 4 hours 45 minutes and 27 seconds.
The lead changed hands several times in the final minutes of the 198-kilometre mainly flat stage from Grado in north east Italy.
Tyler Farrar of the United States was second on the stage and is second overall lipstream while Lance Armstrong lies fifth in the general standings after making a much better start than many had expected.
Armstrong, who only just recovered from a broken collarbone in time to race his first Giro, is just 31 seconds behind Petacchi overall.
Tomorrow's 162km fourth stage from Padua to San Martino di Castrozza is the first mountainous section of the race, which finishes in Rome on May 31.