The rain soaked roads of the Peak District were yet again produced some dramatic racing with Filippo Pozzato (Quick Step) winning the stage and Martin Pedersen (CSC) retaking the leader?s yellow jersey.
Pozzato is desperate to get in a place in the Italian team for the world championships and the Quick Step team worked for him all day. He was part of the decisive move with team mate Tom Boonen and 2005 Tour of Britain winner Nick Nuyens that formed before Millhouse Green and then attacked on his own over the top of Millstone Edge, 15 miles from the finish.
Despite several stray cars on the race route in the final miles, Pozzato made it to Sheffield to win alone, 32 seconds ahead of Michael Rogers (T-Mobile). Nuyens was third in the same time.
Boonen and Australia?s Matt Goss (SouthAustralia.com) were two of several riders who crashed on the dangerous descent before Broomhead. Boonen hurt the back of his right thigh but got back up and finished the stage but Goss was sadly forced to retire on the day he announced signing a three-year contract with CSC.
It was Pozzato?s second win of the year after taking Milan-San Remo in March and came at just the right time.
?Hopefully I?ve proved that I?m riding well and deserve a place in the Italian team,? he said.
?Boonen rode hard for me all day and I have to thank him for that. When he crashed I waited for him but then attacked hard just after the last sprint. Holding a gap like that shows I?m riding well.?
Martin Pedersen now leads the Tour of Britain by 51 seconds. Spain?s Luis Pasamontes is second and Pozzato moved up to third at 2-11. Local hero Russell Downing (DFL) was best British finisher in seventh at 1-02 and kept the points jersey.
Pedersen is now confident of keeping the yellow jersey all the way to London.
?I?m pleased to be back in yellow but it was a crazy day with bad weather and narrow roads,? he said.
?My team did a great job and now I hope we can hold the lead all the way to the end of the race. I?ve never lead a big race like this but my team mates are riding really strong.?
Pedersen will wear the yellow jersey during Friday?s 70-mile fourth stage from Wolverhampton to Birmingham. The stage goes over Cannock Chase but is expected to end in a bunch sprint.
1, Filippo Pozzato (Italy) Quick Step 101 miles in 4-28-18
2, M. Rogers (T-Mobile) at 32 secs
3, N. Nuyens (Quick Step)
4, M. Pedersen (CSC)
5, J. Tschopp (Phonak) all s.t
6, A. Schleck (CSC) at 39secs
7, I. Keisse (Chocolade Jacques) at 1-02
8, R. Downing (DFL) at s.t
9, M. Allegrini (Panaria) at 1-06
10, K. House (Recycling.co.uk) at 1-08.
1, Martin Pedersen (Denmark) CSC
2, L. Pasamontes (Unibrt.com) at 51secs
3, F. Pozzato (Quick Step) at 2-11
4, M. Rogers (T-Mobile) at 2-46
5, N. Nuyens (Quick Step) at 2-47
6, J. Tschopp (Phonak) at 2-55
7, A. Schleck (CSC) at 3-02
8, R. Downing (DFL) at 3-21
9, I. Keisse (Chocolade Jacques) at 3-23
10, M. Allegrini (Panaria) at 3-29.