It was all change today on the Tour of Britain as Emilien Berges of the Agritubel team leapt clear of an eight rider group to claim the stage and take the overall race lead. The hilly route through the Blackdown Hills from Chard to Burnham on Sea in Somerset was never going to favour the sprinters and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes) had a particularly difficult day. Petacchi who won the first stage on Sunday and was overall race leader at the start today suffered an early mechanical problem and finished over 13 minutes down on the young Frenchman Berges to end the day back in 24th place on the general classification. Berges broke clear with 8Km to go to win the stage by 30 seconds from his team-mate Geoffroy Lequarte. The latter lead the race for 80Km of the 185Km stage and now lies in second place behind Berges for an Agritubel one two. Berges now heads the general classification by 29 seconds from Lequarte, but nine of the top 10 are still within 50 seconds of the leader so there is still everything to play for in what may well turn out to be the most open Tour of Britain to date. British riders lead by Ian Stannard (Great Britain) occupy sixth to 10th place in the general classification, but there is better news for home fans in the points race where Roger Hammond (Columbia) took the lead from Petacchi by finishing in 12th place. Kristian House (Rapha Condor) also held on to his lead in the King of the Mountains competition. Tomorrow's stage takes the riders on a 156Km route from Worcester Race Course to Stoke on Trent. Tour of Britain stage three results: 1 Emilien Berges (Fra) Agritubel, 4hrs 49mins 22secs 2 Geoffroy Lequarte (Fra) Agritubel, at 30secs 3 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR Brakes, same time 4 Daniel Martin (Ire) Garmin, same time 5 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) An Post, same time 6 Ian Stannard (GB) Great Britain, same time 7 Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld, same time 8 Daniel Fleeman (GB) An Post, same time 9 Frederik Veuchelen (GB) Topsport Vlaanderen at 39secs 10 Russell Downing (GB) Pinarello RT - Candi TV at 1min 45secs Selected others: 12 Roger Hammond (GB) Columbia, at 1min 56secs 15 Kristian House (GB) Rapha-Condor, at 2mins 21 Jonathan Bellis (GB) CSC-Saxo Bank, at 2mins 5secs 30 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Columbia, at 13mins 2secs 37 David Millar (GB) Garmin, at same time 41 Rob Hayles (GB) Great Britain, at same time 78 Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld, at same time 82 Ben Swift (GB) Great Britain, at same time General classification (after four stages): 1 Emilen Berges (Fra) Agritubel, 10hrs 6mins 17secs 2 Geoffroy Lequarte (Fra) Agritubel, at 29secs 3 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR Brakes, at 36secs 4 Ian Stannard (GB) Great Britain, at 37secs 5 Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld, at same time 6 Daniel Fleeman (Ire) An Post, at 39secs 7 Benny de Schrooder (Bel) An Post, at 40secs 8 Daniel Martin (Ire) Garmin, at same time 9 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Topsport, at 49secs 10 Russell Downing (GB) Pinarello, at 1min 50secs Selected others: 12 Roger Hammond (GB) Columbia, at 2mins 6secs 15 Kristian House (GB) Rapha-Condor, at same time 19 Jonathan Bellis (GB) CSC-Saxo Bank, at 2mins 15secs 24 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes, at 13mins 2secs 26 Danilo di Luca (GB) LPR Brakes, at 13 mins 4secs 27 Rod Hayles (GB) Great Britain, at 13 mins 6secs 35 Ben Swift (GB) Great Britain, at same time 49 David Millar (GB) Garmin, at same time 56 Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld, at same time 76 Chris Newton (GB) Rapha-Condor, at same time 84 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Columbia, at 13mins 58secs
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.