Mark Cavendish won the third stage of the Tour of Britain in Dumfries this afternoon, the second time in two years he's taken the stage in the Scottish town. Cavendish easily outsprinted Leigh Howard, who beat him in stage two, after a strong lead-out from Team Sky.
A five-man breakaway of Bernard Sulzberger (Raleigh-GAC) Peter Hawkins (IG Sigma Sport), Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) Peter Williams (Node 4 Giordana) and Wesley Kreder (Vacansoleil-DCM) spent most of the day up the road in blustery and showery conditions, but were never allowed to go more than four minutes ahead by a peloton driven by the United Healthcare team of race leader Boy Van Poppel.
For Williams it was the second day in a row he had made the break and he used that advantage to add to his lead in the Yodel points jersey while fellow escapee Kristian House re-took the lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
Team Sky began to force the pace in the last half hour of the race, and the catch was made with less than 2km to go setting things up for a sprint finish which Sky bossed from the start, with Knees and Eisel forcing the pace before stage 1 winner Luke Rowe delivered Cavendish to the line for a simple win.
"I knew the finish, that it would have a tailwind going downhill, so that meant I could go early, and I had a perfect lead out," Cav said of the sprint. "Luke was so fast at the end, and Bernie before him, and Brad and Jez kept it strung out before that. It was a pretty textbook display."
Cavendish also had praise for the crowds thousands of whom braved the Scottish weather to come out and support the race and cheer his win.
“It’s great, like it’s been on every stage”, said the World Champion. “This Tour of Britain has been great. Obviously with Brad [Wiggins] winning the yellow jersey at The Tour and everybody is behind it. Especially when it’s pissing with rain, there were people still out watching, some in t-shirts so it was nice to see.”
As for whether the Dumfries victory could be his last in the rainbow stripes, the Manxman said, “I thought about coming here for the overall (winner), to try and wear the gold jersey but I kind of want to wear this for as many days as possible before next week. It’s actually dawning on me now that it’s actually been a year, and I am trying to savour the moment. I wanted to get a win here and get a final win in the rainbow jersey and I am glad I could do that.”
Tomorrow the race heads south from Carlisle to Blackpool - the stage that was last year cancelled due to high winds.
Stage Three, Jedburgh to Dumfries Whitesands, 152.6km
1) Mark Cavendish, GBR, Team Sky, 3:54:30 2) Leigh Howard, AUS, Orica GreenEDGE, same time 3) Aidis Kruopis, LTU, Orica GreenEDGE, same time 4) Luke Rowe, GBR, Team Sky, same time 5) Sam Bennett, IRL, AN Post Sean Kelly, same time 6) Russ Downing, GBR, Endura Racing, same time 7) Boy Van Poppel, NED, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, same time 8) Jonathan McEvoy, GBR, Endura Racing, same time 9) Barry Markus, NED, Vacansoleil - DCM, same time 10) Yanto Barker, GBR, Team UK Youth, same time
Rouleur Combativity Award: Peter Hawkins, IRL, Team IG - Sigma Sport
IG Gold Jersey, General Classification, after Stage Three
1) Leigh Howard, AUS, Orica GreenEDGE, 13:16:28 2) Mark Cavendish, GBR, Team Sky, same time 3) Boy Van Poppel NED, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, + 0.04 4) Luke Rowe, GBR, Team Sky, same time 5) Rony Martias, FRA, Saur Sojasun, + 0.10 6) Russ Downing, GBR, Endura Racing, + 0.12 7) Steele Von Hoff, AUS, Garmin - Sharp, + 0.16 8) Nathan Haas, AUS, Garmin - Sharp, same time 9) Sep Vanmarcke, BEL, Garmin - Sharp, same time 10) Sam Bennett, IRL, Team IG - Sigma Sport, + 0.17
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