After Hurricane Katia forced the cancellation of yesterday's Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, racing resumed today with an appropriately storming finish in Stoke-on-Trent that saw Lars Boom of Rabobank take the win as well as the race leader's gold jersey, with Team Sky's Alex Dowsett, who had attacked 18 kilometres out, caught in the closing stages.
World under-23 champion Michael Matthews finished second. Another Team Sky rider, Geraint Thomas, finished third, with HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish, the man who began the day in the overall lead, fourth.
Dowsett, who last month won a stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, finishing second overall, had built a lead of around 20 seconds as the stage entered the closing ten kilometres, but with a long, uphill drag towards the finish it was always going to be tough to hold off the select group chasing him, which included race leader Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad, and the 22-year-old from Essex was caught with a couple of kilometres to go.
While conditions were more clement than they had been yesterday, crosswinds were an issue today as the race looped out of Stoke-on-Trent and across the Staffordshire moorlands in what has become a familiar stage of the week-long race, and one that includes the climb of Gun Hill.
Domestic teams figured in the early attacks, with the likes of Rapha-Condor-Sharp's Kristian House and Motorpoint's Ian Bibby, both riders with well-earned reputations for going on the offensive, trying but failing to get clear.
When a trio of riders did manage to get clear, it included mountains classification leader Russell Hampton of Sigma Sport-Specialized, who managed to add to his tally as he led the race alongside fellow escapees Boy Van Poppel of United Healthcare and the 21-year-old Briton, Andy Fenn of AN Post Sean Kelly, who heads to Omega Pharma-Quick Step next season.
Between the day's first categorised climb, the Ramshorn, and Gun Hill, Team Sky led the chase and dominated the group of around 25 riders that formed after the leaders had been caught, with five riders. Fellow ProTour teams HTC-Highroad, including race leader Cavendish, and Leopard Trek both had three men in that group, but it was Rabobank, represented by just Boom and Matthews, that would clinch the one two on the stage.
Afterwards, Boom said: "With 200 metres to go I managed to jump over [Steve] Cummings and [Geraint] Thomas and then the corners started so they couldn't pass us anymore. My first aim was to pull for Michael [Matthews] and then I felt good so I am happy to win.
"We knew that you can't bring HTC and Cavendish or the Sky boys to the finish. We knew we would have to surprise them, and we managed to do that," he contimued.
"I know that it is always tricky with the wind when you are in England. I saw the Sky guys move up to the front and there was point that there was a lot of wind. It was a good point to go and we managed to get away.
"It is nice to win. It's nice to win before the World Championships. I am to try and defend the jersey and win the overall, that is the goal now," Boom concluded.
His team mate, Matthews, added: ""It worked out really well for the team. It is going to be really hard to defend the race lead, but it is what every team wants. It is a privilege to have the jersey in the team and we will be happy to work for it and see if we can keep hold of it until the end of the week. We worked hard today but having the jersey made it worth it."
Tomorrow, the race heads into Wales with a 184 kilometre stage from Welshpool to Caerphilly, just up the road from Geraint Thomas's home city, Cardiff.
The parcours includes some hills that mountains jersey wearer Hampton already knows, with the Sigma Sport-Specialized rider saying: "We have looked at the stages on our training camp a few weeks ago. I know some of the climbs from the Junior Tour of Wales, so it brings back some memories. We will try and be aggressive and see what comes of it."
Tour of Britain Stage Three Results Stage Three The Stoke-on-Trent Stage, 140.3km
1) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank) 3h 23m 42s
2) Michael Matthews (Aus, Rabobank) same time
3) Geraint Thomas (GB, Sky Procycling) same time
4) Steve Cummings (GB, Sky Procycling) same time
5) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC Highroad) same time
6) Ian Bibby (GB, Motorpoint) same time
7) Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB, Rapha Condor Sharp) same time
8) Jelle Wallays (Bel, Topsport Vlaanderen) same time
9) Linus Gerdemann (Ger, Leopard Trek) same time
10) Andrew Fenn (GB, AN Post) same time
Combativity Award: Andrew Fenn (GB, AN Post)
Overall General Classification, after Stage Three
1) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank) 8h 04m 35s
2) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC Highroad) @ 0.03
3) Geraint Thomas (GB, Sky Procyling) @ 0.06
4) Michael Matthews (Aus, Rabobank) @ 0.07
5) Boy Van Poppel (Ned, UnitedHealthcare) @ 0.08
6) Andrew Fenn (GB, AN Post) same time
7) Ian Bibby (GB, Motorpoint) @ 0.13
8) Linus Gerdemann (Ger, Leopard Trek) same time
9) Steve Cummings (GB, Sky Procycling) same time
10) Daniel Lloyd (GB, Garmin Cervelo) same time
The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Classification, after Stage Three
1) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC - Highroad) 26pts
2) Geraint Thomas (GB, Sky Procycling) 24pts
3) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank) 23pts
4) Michael Matthews (Aus, Rabobank) 14pts
5) Mark Renshaw (Aus, HTC Highroad) 14pts
6) Ian Bibby (GB, Motorpoint) 13pts
7) Theo Bos (Ned, Rabobank) 13pts
8) Steve Cummings (GB, Sky Procycling) 12pts
9) Robert Forster (Ger, UnitedHealthcare) 10pts
10) Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB, Rapha Condor Sharp) 9pts
Skoda King of the Mountains Classification, after Stage Three
1) Russell Hampton (GB, Sigma Sport-Specialized) 32pts
2) Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB, Rapha Condor Sharp) 16pts
3) Boy Van Poppel (Ned, UnitedHealthcare) 12pts
4) Andrew Fenn (GB, AN Post) 12pts
5) Steve Cummings (GB, Sky Procycling) 12pts
6) Michael Rogers (Aus, Sky Procycling) 10pts
7) Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel, AN Post) 9pts
8) Bernhard Eisel (Aut, HTC Highroad) 4pts
9) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC Highroad) 3pts
10) Ronan McLaughlin (Irl, AN Post) 3pts
Yodel Sprints Classification, after Stage Three
1) Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel, AN Post) 17pts
2) Russell Hampton (GB, Sigma Sport-Specialized) 13pts
3) Boy Van Poppel (Ned, UnitedHealthcare) 8pts
4) Andrew Fenn (GB, AN Post) 8pts
5) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank) 6pts
6) Geraint Thomas (GB, Sky Procycling) 5pts
7) Mathew Hayman (Aus, Sky Procycling) 3pts
8) Alex Dowsett (GB, Sky Procycling) 2pts
9) Peter Williams (GB, Motorpoint) 2pts
10) Bernhard Eisel (Aut, HTC Highroad) 1pts
UNISON Best Young Rider Classification, after Stage Three
1) Michael Matthews (Aus, Rabobank) 8h 04m 42s
2) Andrew Fenn (GB, AN Post) @ 0.01
3) Jan-Bert Lindemann (Ned, Vacansoleil DCM) @ 0.06
4) Jelle Wallays (Bel, Tosport Vlaanderen) same time
5) Willem Wauters (Bel, Vacansoleil DCM) @ 4.30
Why would the UN be any better than our more local lot?...
SECOND conviction of careless driving and back behind the wheel after six months. Disgraceful.
New take on "downloading directions"?
Tactical mistake by the Daleks there. Being restricted to the cycle lanes they found they couldn't conquer a single street, never mind the world....
What kind of regime do you do with your chain and do you know how long they last?...
<Insert That Escalated Quickly GIF here>...
Yes, he should be allowed to keep going with his career, but that doesn't mean a team should hire him.
Except bypasses lead to more traffic in general and volumes on the smaller bypassed road grows. Induced demand....
The police have record funding and a record number of officers in most forces....