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Slovakia's Peter Sagan of the Cannondale team won a second consecutive stage on the Tour of Oman on Wednesday to strengthen his grip on the overall race leader's red jersey.
Sagan emerged victorious on the 190km third stage from Nakhal Fort to Wadi Dayqah Dam in the Hajar mountains.
In the same spot where he claimed his first win for Cannondale a year ago, Sagan beat Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet of BMC and France's Tony Gallopin of RadioShack to take victory on the line.
Sagan, who won three stages on last year's Tour de France, sits 16 seconds ahead of Gallopin in the overall standings.
A strong field in Oman is headed by last year's Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, and also features his Sky team-mate Chris Froome, as well as the likes of Tom Boonen, Cadel Evans, Fabian Cancellara and Alberto Contador.
Thursday's fourth stage is a 152.5km ride through the mountains to the finish at Jabal Al Akhdar.
The six-stage race concludes on Saturday.