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Criterium du Dauphiné Stage 3: Wiggo storms into race lead as Martin takes time trial

Team Sky rider puts in second quickest time and leaves GC rivals standing

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"

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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