Serge Pauwels and Omar Fraile cross the line together in Sheffield to cap a perfect day for the South African team

Serge Pauwels and Omar Fraile delivered an impressive 1-2 for Dimension Data on stage three of the Tour de Yorkshire as Pauwels also took the overall title.

At the end of an extremely tough 194.5km stage between Bradford and Fox Valley, Sheffield, it was Pauwels who launched the first major move on a finishing circuit that included four climbs with double digit gradients.

The former Team Sky rider attacked over the crest of the C么te de Wigtwizzle with 10km to go, quickly opening a small gap, which he then extended on the following climb.

The chase was inconsistent as BMC Racing attempted to put together a coherent pursuit, but being constantly thwarted by the presence of Fraile.

>>> Five things we learned from the Tour de Yorkshire

With a descent towards the finish Pauwels was able to hold his advantage, but with the final two kilometres on flat road, there was the chance from a counter-attack from behind.

And the counter-attack did indeed come, but surprisingly it was from Fraile who made short work of bridging the gap to his team-mate as the chase once again stalled behind.

With the gap only going in one direction, it was up to Fraile and Pauwels to decide the race winner between them, with Fraile ushering his Belgian team-mate across the line first as he celebrated a famous 1-2 behind.

The opening kilometres of the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire saw aggressive racing as it took some time for a break to establish itself.

When a move finally went clear roughly 20km into the stage it consisted of seven riders: Mat Hayman (Orica-Scott), Johnny McEvoy (Madison-Genesis), Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling), Dexter Gardias (Bike Channel-Canyon), Steven Lammertink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Gatis Smukulis (Delko鈥揗arseille Provence KTM), and Pieter Weening (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij).

They quickly opened an advantage of nearly five minutes as Team Sky and Direct Energie set tempo on the front of the peloton.

With 130km remaining, the break hit the first of eight climbs on the route, the C么te de Silsden, which was enough to cause problems for a few at the back of the break and the back of the peloton, but with most riders content to save their energy for the tough final few climbs later in the day.

>>> Tour de Yorkshire riders united in astonishment at ‘incredible and crazy’ roadside crowds

That was also the pattern over the C么te de Haworth and C么te de Leeming, before Williams was dropped from the break after needing to change a wheel.

The next climb was the cobbled ascent of the C么te de Shibden Wall, which saw huge crowds at the roadside as riders struggled to avoid putting a foot down on the 21 per cent gradients.

Weening took the points at the top of the climb to all but secure the mountains jersey, while the peloton continued to ride tempo with only a handful of riders dropped.

At the top of Shibden Wall the break’s advantage was around three minutes, but by the time they reached the unclassified climb of Holmfirth with 48km remaining, that had been cut in half as Sky and Dimension Data led the chase.

>>> ‘I’ve always been fighting for it’: Serge Pauwels on his first ever pro victory at the Tour de Yorkshire

Over the following kilometres the break steadily lost further ground as the major teams upped the speed, with the catch finally made with 25km to go.

And the moment the break was caught, an attack came out of the bunch, with Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie) opening a few seconds advantage. Nauleau was quickly brought back, but injection of pace was enough to see countless riders shelled from the back of the peloton as a tough day in the saddle began to take its toll.

By the time the peloton made started the finishing circuit with 18km remaining, there were only 40 or so riders left in the front group, with Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) nipping off the front to take the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint, moving himself into the virtual race lead.

The finishing circuit consisted of four punishing climbs, and the first of them, the C么te de Deepcar, saw more attrition as defending champion Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) was among those dropped from an increasingly exclusive front group which was whittled down to just 15 riders.

>>> ‘You cannot compare the Tour de Yorkshire to any other race’

The C么te de Wigtwizzle saw more of the same as Jacque Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) attempted to raise the pace, but was unable to force a gap, only succeed on blowing a few more riders off of the back.

However Dimension Data were a team with a plan, and as Janse Van Rensburg crested the climb, his team-mate Serge Pauwels went straight over the top, quickly opening a small gap over the chasers.

Pauwels attacked the descent, taking a 10 second gap onto the C么te de Ewden Height, and was able to extend his lead over the top of the climb, holding an advantage of 30 seconds going into the final nine kilometres.

The gap looked commanding, and with two riders in the chasing group, it was up to BMC Racing to chase behind. However by the base of the C么te de Midhopestones, Pauwels advantage remained steady.

BMC had two men to set the pace on the final climb, with Joey Rosskopf clawing back a few seconds, before Bookwalter attacked, followed by Omar Fraile and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) the first to follow.

>>> Bike Channel-Canyon ‘showing what they’re capable of’ at Tour de Yorkshire

That move brought Pauwel’s advantage down to 10 seconds, but with team-mate Fraile in the group behind the chase stalled, and the gap once again went out by a few seconds as the Belgian descended towards the finish.

The final two kilometres were flat, and gave a chance for a surprise move by Fraile, who quickly bridged the gap to his team-mates as the other riders in the chasing group seemed unwilling to chase.

As they came under the flamme rouge it was clear that it would be a Dimension Data 1-2, with Pauwels the man to cross the line first, also taking the overall title.

Results

Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage three: Bradford to Fox Valley, Sheffield (194.5km)

1. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data, in 4-57-47
2. Omar Fraile (Esp) Dimension Data, at same time
3. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie, at 6 secs
4. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing, at 6 secs
5. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky, at 8 secs
6. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Matthew Holmes (GBr) Madison Genesis
8. Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
9. Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb, all at same time
10. Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing, at 23 secs

Final general classification

1. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data, 11-53-04
2. Omar Fraile (Esp) Dimension Data, at 6 secs
3. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie, at 7 secs
4. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing, at 18 secs
5. Matthew Holmes (GBr) Madison Genesis, at 20 secs
6. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky
9. Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb, all at same time
10. Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing, at 35 secs