Tony Martin won the stage, but Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins is the new leader of the Criterium du Dauphiné after putting in a fantastic ride to finish second in today’s individual time trial in Grenoble on the same course that will be used next month in the penultimate stage of the Tour de France. On a great day for Team Sky, Edvald Boasson Hagen was third, and Geraint Thomas finished seventh, the Welshman moving to sixth on the GC.
Wiggins, who had started the day 11 seconds behind Astana's Alexander Vinokourov in the overall standings, completed the 42.5km course in 55 minutes 38 seconds and now lies 1 miniute 11 seconds ahead of BMC Racing's Cadel Evans, with defending champion Janez Brajkovic of RadioShack a further 10 seconds back in third.
The Team Sky rider's time was bettered only by the German HTC-Highroad rider, who went 11 seconds quicker but had started the day ten and a half minutes down in the overall standings. Until Wiggins, third but last man out on the course, put in his time, only Boasson Hagen had succeeded in getting within a minute of Martin's time, and even then the Norwegian was 43 seconds slower.
Rain made conditions very slippery on the higher parts of the parcours above Grenoble, the capital of the Isere department and, historically, the Dauphiné region itself. Wiggins was not alone on taking the descent back down into the city, where the roads were dry, very gingerly, but he'd already done enough to ensure that he'd be wearing the race leader's jersey tonight.
Team Sky did a great job of defending Wiggins' third place in Paris-Nice back in March this year, and with a cushion of more than a minute over his closest rival, the onus is on Evans, winner of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico, and others with their eyes on the overall win, to attack.
That's unlikely to happen tomorrow, however. The 173.5km Stage 4 from La Motte Servolex to Mâcon may feature a Category 2 climb early on as well as two Category 4 ascents, but with the final 65km heading downhill it should be the one day of this year's race that will see the sprinters battle it out for the win.
The three stages after that all feature summit finishes and there are bound to be plenty of attacks on those ahead of the race finishing on Sunday. Should Team Sky succeed in defending Wiggins' lead, it will be their biggest race win in the 18 months since they arrived in the peloton, as well as the three-time Olympic gold medallist's biggest success off the track, and one that will bode well ahead of next month's Tour de France.
Criterium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Result 1 MARTIN Tony HTC - HIGHROAD 55' 27" 2 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 11" 3 HAGEN Edvald Boasson SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 43" 4 ZABRISKIE David GARMIN - CERVELO + 00' 58" 5 BRAJKOVIC Janez RADIOSHACK + 01' 17" 6 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING + 01' 20" 7 THOMAS Geraint SKY PROCYCLING + 01' 36" 8 RIBLON Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 01' 37" 9 TAARAMAE Rein COFIDIS + 01' 56" 10 COSTA Rui MOVISTAR + 02' 00" 11 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin HTC - HIGHROAD + 02' 02" 12 MALORI Adriano LAMPRE - ISD + 02' 04" 13 COPPEL Jérôme SAUR-SOJASUN + 02' 08" 14 VINOKOUROV Alexandre ASTANA + 02' 18" 15 HERMANS Ben RADIOSHACK + 02' 26" 16 ROY Jérémy FDJ + 02' 38" 17 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO + 02' 39" 18 URAN Rigoberto SKY PROCYCLING + 02' 41" 19 KOREN Kristjan LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE + 02' 43" 20 KADRI Blel AG2R LA MONDIALE + 02' 43" Criterium du Dauphiné Overall Standings after Stage 3 1 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING 8h 41' 37" 2 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING + 01' 11" 3 BRAJKOVIC Janez RADIOSHACK + 01' 21" 4 VINOKOUROV Alexandre ASTANA + 01' 56" 5 COSTA Rui MOVISTAR + 02' 12" 6 THOMAS Geraint SKY PROCYCLING + 02' 25" 7 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO + 02' 28" 8 RIBLON Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 02' 45" 9 HERMANS Ben RADIOSHACK + 02' 46" 10 COPPEL Jérôme SAUR-SOJASUN + 02' 52"
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.