PAYSON, Utah -- Australia's Lachlan Morton won the third stage of the Tour of Utah on Thursday to take a 22-second lead over Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet in the overall standings.
Morton, riding for Garmin-Sharp, completed the 119.5-mile stage from Richfield to Payson in 4 hours, 20 minutes, 21 seconds. Van Avermaet was second, 34 seconds back for BMC.
American Lucas Euser, riding for UnitedHealthcare, was third -- also 34 seconds behind. Euser was third overall, 40 seconds behind Morton with three stages left.
Morton scaled Mount Nebo with a pack of other cyclists, made a break from the peloton when it started to break up on the ascent, and held the lead over the final 25 miles.
"When you have an opportunity like that, especially as a young rider, you got to take it," Morton said. "And I did. I just put my head down and focused on the finish line.
"It was a lot longer than I thought to the finish. What are you going to do? You just got to put your head down and ride, so that's what I did."
A chase group of 17 riders broke away from the peleton and trimmed Morton's lead to a minute with nine miles to go, but Morton kept them from closing the gap further until the final mile.
"Lachlan did the long bomb," Euser said. "He threw the Hail Mary and it worked."
The fourth stage Friday is a five-lap, 33.8-mile ride in Salt Lake City.