Sam Bennett of Ireland won the third stage of the Binckbank Tour after a photo finish in Aalter ©Binckbank Tour

Ireland's Sam Bennett extended his lead at the International Cycling Union Binckbank Tour in Belgium by completing a hat-trick of stage wins in Aalter.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider made it three wins from three stages on the 166.9 kilometres course with a photo-finish victory.

Bennett is the first rider in the Tour's history to win three stages in a row after pipping Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen from Jumbo-Visma in the closing metres.

Bennett, Groenwegen and UAE Team Emirates rider Jasper Philipsen of Belgium broke clear of the peleton after a crash at the last turn before speeding through to the finish line.

Russian Viacheslav Kuznetsov of Katusha-Alpecin, Astana rider Laurens De Vreese from Belgium, Roompot-Charles rider Jan-Willem van Schip of The Netherlands and Belgium's Aaron Verwilst of the Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise team broke clear and built a two-minute advantage in the opening 20km.

The peleton caught the escapees with 72km to go before several failed attacks failed to make a mark.

With 50km of the stage remaining, Katusha-Alpecin rider Harry Tanfield of Britain, CCC Team rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck of Belgium and compatriot Stijn Steels from Roompot-Charles stole a 20-second gap.

They were caught with just 3.2km left of the stage before a crash split the peleton and allowed Bennett to capitalise.

He crossed the line first in three hours 48min 36sec as Groenwegen and Philipsen finished in the same time.

Bennett's lead over Philipsen in the general classification is 20 seconds, having clocked a total time of 11:16.23.

Philipsen and Groenwegen share a time of 11:16.43.

Tomorrow's fourth stage is 96.2km and starts and finishes in Houffalize.