AL BUSTAN, Oman – Germany's Andre Greipel took over the lead in the Tour of Oman after the Lotto rider claimed Thursday's third stage, a 145 kilometre ride from Muscat to Al Bustan.

Greipel got the better of Slovakia's Peter Sagan and Nacer Bouhanni of France in a sprint finish.

The winner already of Tuesday's first stage Greipel prised the leader's red jersey from Australian Leigh Howard.

“Andre rode a really incredible stage,” the stage winner's teammate Jurgen Roelandts said.

“To follow like he did the climbers in the last two sections proves his legs are incredible,” the Belgian added.

Greipel's fifth win of the season pushed him to an eight second lead over Howard, with Alexander Kristoff of Norway in third, a further two seconds adrift.

“It might have looked easy but today was far from that,” the German sprinter reflected.

Sagan, favourite to take the stage, lost out by the length of two bikes on the line.

“This second place shows that I'm in form too,” said Sagan.

As has been the case on the first two days Thursday's action featured a long breakaway but the three-man posse were duly swept up by the peloton which included last year's winner, Britain's Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

Friday's fourth stage takes the riders on a 173km route from Wadi Al Abiyad to Muscat. – Sapa-AFP