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Australia's Rohan Dennis wins Stage 3 of Tour of California (w/video)

  • Rohan Dennis, of Australia, is kissed on the stage by flower girls after winning stage 3 of the Tour of California cycling race on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, on Mount Diablo in Clayton, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

DANVILLE — Rohan Dennis of Australia bolted to the front within the final 300 yards to win the hot and hilly third stage and reduce Bradley Wiggins' race lead at the Tour of California on Tuesday.

Dennis, 23, (Garmin-Sharp), who began the stage in second with a 44-second deficit to Wiggins, completed the 108.5-mile road race to Mt. Diablo in 4 hours, 56 minutes and 2 seconds.

Wiggins (Sky) of Britain, who assumed the race lead with his dominating Stage 2 time trial win in Folsom, finished ninth in the stage, trailing the leader by 20 seconds.

Tour Of California, Stage 3

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Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner who's competing in the event for the first time since 2008, leads Dennis by 24 seconds with five stages left.

"This is the first time I have ridden in this type of heat in almost two years," said Wiggins, who faltered in the waning meters. "It takes an adjustment. Actually, I am a bit knackered from it."

Tiago Machado (NetApp-Endura) of Portugal was second in Stage 3, trailing Dennis by 6 seconds.

American Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) was third, another 2 seconds back, in the stage that ended with a 4-mile climb with as much as a 17 percent grade. Temperatures reached into the mid-90s.

Machado is third overall, trailing by 1 minute and 5 seconds.

Dennis, 23, came into prominence last fall when he claimed the inaugural Tour of Alberta.

"Last year, at about three kilometers to go, I didn't have anything left," Dennis said. "This year, getting past that was a bonus. I saw other people cracking around us and that gave me more confidence."

The heat took its toll, with the original field of 128 now at 114 with 11 riders eliminated by time and two others not finishing. One rider didn't start the stage.

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