Peter Sagan of Slovakia won his third-straight stage at the Tour of California Tuesday, surging past Aussie Heinrich Haussler who was runner-up for the third-consecutive day.
Sagan sprinted into the lead in the last 100 yards, claiming victory in four hours, 50 minutes and 49 seconds and extending his lead in the USA's biggest cycling race.
"It's a surprise for me," said Sagan. "I want to say thank you to my team because they did very good work today."
Sagan, of the Liquigas-Cannondale team, had to swing wide to the right to finish off the 115.3 mile stage from San Jose to Livermore.
"This race is very hard for me," Sagan said. "The long climbs and the time trial are not so good for me. I'll try very hard to stay in the (yellow) jersey for another day. But I don't think I'll keep it after the time trial."
Sagan now leads Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) by 12 seconds overall, with five stages of the eight-stage race left.
Tom Boonen of Belgium, the world's number one ranked cyclist, was third.
Jeffry Louder is third overall among the remaining field of 123, 24 seconds adrift of Sagan.
Defending champ Chris Horner, of the US, finished in the main field for the third straight day and is 15th overall. He is 30 seconds behind Sagan.