British sprint king Mark Cavendish earned his first win of the year by claiming victory in the third stage of the Dubai Tour on Thursday.

The 32-year-old former world champion edged out France's Nacer Bouhanni and German powerhouse Marcel Kittel at the end of the 180km stage from Dubai to Fujairah.

Italian Elia Viviani , winner of Wednesday's second stage, is the new leader after Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen, Tuesday's opening stage victor, was penalised 20 seconds for drafting -- using a team car to shield himself from the wind.

Groenewegen dropped to 42nd overall with Cavendish up to second, four seconds off Viviani .

Friday's fourth stage is a 172km ride from Dubai to Hatta Dam.

Results

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/DOD) 3hr 53min 46sec, 2. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/CDF) same time, 3. Marcel Kittel (GER/TKA) s.t., 4. Adam Blythe (GB/ABS) s.t., 5. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/TBM) s.t.

Overall standing:

1. Elia Viviani (ITA/QST) 12hr 19min 36sec, 2. Mark Cavendish (GB/DOD) at 4sec, 3. Nathan Van Hooydonk (BEL/BMC) 7, 4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (DAN/AST) 8, 5. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/CFD) s.t.