Edvald Boasson Hagen won today's stage of the Tour of Britain the 153.8Km stretch from Peebles to Gretna Green taking it in a sprint finish from Michele Merlo (Barloworld) and Chris Sutton who won Saturday's opening stage.
Today's win brings Boasson Hagen's tally of Tour of Britain stage victories to four – he won three last year and the young Norwegian is aiming to add to his tally, in particularly he is targetting Wednesday's Stoke on Trent stage “It is a fun finish, and it was really nice last year. I hope maybe I can do something similar this year!” He is also targetting the overall win too and now sits in second place on the general classification 11 seconds behind Kai Reus and one second up on Garmin's Chris Sutton.
This was a stage which was set up for the sprinters but before the fast men could have their moment they and their teams had to deal with the usual long distance break. Four men came together in the day's longest escape and as is becoming traditional on this year's Tour of Britain Thomas De Gendt of the Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator was in it. The Belgian has now spent an amazing 413Km of this year's race in escapes. Today he jumped away with Cervelo's Martin Reiner not long after the start in Peebles, these two were later joined by by Rapha – Condor’s Darren Lapthorne and Vacansoleil’s Rob Ruygh. The four never managed to build up a really big lead – four minutes was the best they could manage and they were eventually chased down by the pack with Reus's Rabobank team doing much of the work, with 25Km to go.
The catch was the signal for a flurry of other escape attempts including some by the original escapers. Agritubel riders were prominent and one of them Emilien Berges had the best go building a lead of 23 seconds at one point, but it was never to be on the long straight roads leading in to Gretna he was remained in site, hanging of the front like bait for a hungry peloton. He was duly caught with two kilometres to go and Columbia HTC piloted Boasson Hagen to the front, with 300m to go he lit the fuse and fired himself for the line for Tour of Britain win number four.
Tomorrow's stage takes the riders on a 148Km loop around Blackpool
Top 20 Tour of Britain Stage 3
1) Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia - HTC) 3:38:01 2) Michele Merlo (Barloworld ) 3) Christopher Sutton (Garmin - Slipstream) 4) Danilo Napolitano (Team Katusha) 5) Davide Appollonio (Cervelo Test Team) 6) Russell Downing (Candi TV- Pinarello RT) 7) Alexander Kristoff (Joker Bianchi) 8) Pierpaolo De Negri (ISD-Neri) 9) Graeme Brown (Rabobank) 10) Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) 11) Federico Canuti (CSF Group - Navigare ) 12) Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 13) Robert Hayles (Team Halfords) 14) Kristian House (Rapha Condor) 15) Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo Test Team) 16) Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) 17) Ian Wilkinson (Team Halfords) 18) Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) 19) Mark McNally (Team Halfords) 20) Rob Ruygh (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)
Top 10 on General Classification after Stage 3
1) Kai Reus (Rabobank) 11:24:15 2) Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia - HTC) 0:00:11 3) Christopher Sutton (Garmin - Slipstream) 0:00:12 4) Michele Merlo (Barloworld ) 0:00:14 5) Martin Reimer (Cervelo Test Team) 0:00:17 6) Alexander Kristoff (Joker Bianchi) 0:00:19 7) Rob Ruygh (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) 0:00:23 8) Russell Downing (Candi TV- Pinarello RT) 0:00:25 9) Danilo Napolitano (Team Katusha) 0:00:26 10) Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator)
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