Alessandro Petacchi won a bunch sprint to take the third stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.
The Fassa Bortolo rider claimed his second stage win after clinching Sunday's first road stage.
Italy's Petacchi beat off Romans Vainsteins of Vini Caldirola with Spain's two-time world champion Oscar Freire in third.
Germany's six-time green jersey winner Erik Zabel was fourth with last year's points winner Australian Robbie McEwen in fifth.
But France's Jean-Patrick Nazon overtook Bradley McGee as the overall race leader after picking up sufficient time bonuses on the intermediate sprints.
Nazon, 26, became the first Frenchman since Francois Simon in 2001 to wear the leader's yellow jersey.
If you would have told me last year that I would pull the yellow jersey on during the race I wouldn't have believed you - it's
like a gift from God
"I can't believe it yet. In the winter, I found myself without a team and nobody believed in
me," said Nazon, who was runner-up in Monday's second stage to Sedan.
"It has happened so quickly. I'm
having a lot of difficulty understanding what's happening."
The bunch sprint saw another high-speed crash when Austrian Rene Haselbacher hit the tarmac, before scooting over the line with a battered bike.
The peloton came together with 16km left of the 167.5km stage from Charleville-Mézières to Saint-Dizier in northern France after reeling in lone breakaway Anthony Geslin.
The Brioche la Boulangere rider - the third youngest racer on Tour - made his escape with 83km left to race.
He built a lead of over three minutes before the peloton wound him in to set up the high-speed finish.
Earlier, the trio of Carlos Da Cruz (Francaise des Jeux), Maryan Hary (Brioche la Boulangere) and Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel-Euskadi) broke away after 33km but their attack only lasted about 45 minutes.
Wednesday's fourth stage is a 69km team time trial from Joinville to Saint-Dizier.