Lars-Petter Nordhaug of Team Sky has won the first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire, having led from start to finish after his stage win on the opening day in Scarborough. BMC Racing had hopes that Samuel Sanchez might claw back the Norweigian's 10-second advantage on today's stage from Wakefield to Leeds, but had to be content with securing the stage win today through Ben Hermans.
The Belgian, who overhauled Lawson Craddock of Giant Alpecin, the last member left of the day's break, ended the stage 9 seconds ahead of his team mate Greg van Avermaet finishing second, with Julian Simon of Cofidis third.
Sanchez was in fourth place, but Nordhaug, who had responded to an attack from the Spaniard 37.5 kilometres from the finish to pip the Spaniard to the single remaining bonus second crossed the line on his wheel to seal his overall victory.
That gave Nordhaug, whose team mates including Phiip Deignan rode strongly today to help defend his lead, the overall win by 11 seconds from Sanchez, with Europcar's Thomas Voeckler third.
As with the previous two days of the race, huge crowds lined the route of the 160km stage today which contained six categorised climbs but plenty of other short but sharp ascents that gradually ground down the peloton this afternoon, with fewer than 25 riders finishing within 5 minutes of the winner.
Race winner Lars-Petter Nordhaug of Team Sky
"For me it wasn't so difficult but for my team-mates they were riding really hard. It was amazing how strong they were. We were in control all day and I felt very strong, I had confidence all the way and I did not hesitate at all. It was a fantastic day.
"It was a good start for the race and today it was just amazing. From start to finish there were huge crowds."
Team Sky DS, Rod Ellingworth
"The first 30km was carnage really and there were bodies everywhere. There was a break of 22 riders and Voeckler managed to get in it. They got out to 50 seconds so we had to chase really hard.
"The group split and then Voeckler came back. After that it all settled down and the lads controlled it as they should. The winning move really from Lars was when he took that last time bonus at the sprint. That one second meant nobody from the bunch could beat him.
"The crowds today were incredible, especially considering in some places it was heaving down with rain. We've all really enjoyed it.
Stage winner Ben Hermans of BMC Racing
"Fortunately, today was a good day. I had a hard moment on second-to-last KOM (king of the mountain) when it started to rain.
"But then I felt better and attacked. We wanted to make the race hard for the last couple of climbs and then some other teams would attack, or maybe I would attack.
"But I did not feel quite good enough to attack and still go with the good guys. So we stayed together. I think everyone was a little bit dead at that moment."
Overall runner-up Samuel Sanchez of BMC Racing
"Second in the GC (general classification) and Ben winning the stage is a fantastic result for us," Sánchez said.
"The final 35 kilometres we had aggressive tactics. It was nice to do so well in this new race that had so many people out to watch."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.