Ian Wilkinson has added to Endura Racing’s ever-increasing tally of continental road wins, claiming the third stage of the Tour de Normandie on Wednesday morning.
The Lancashire man won the short 61km stage from Forges-les-Eaux to Gaillon on the third day of the UCI 2.2-ranked race, which finishes in Caen on Sunday, March 25.
Wilkinson had initiated the escape, and was joined by Gael Malacarne (Bretagne-Schuller), Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana Continental), Johan Landstrum (Team Cykelcity) and Gerry Druyts (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
Druyts later lost contact with the four other escapees, leaving the quartet to fight it out for the stage win. Wilkinson easily out-paced his rivals to cross the line with arms aloft. The bunch came home just over a minute behind, elevating Wilkinson up to fifth overall.
Impressively, all of Endura’s UCI-ranked victories have come in France, and at races ranked .2 or higher.
Jon Tiernan-Locke set the ball rolling with two stage wins and the overall in the Tour of the Med, before taking a stage and the overall in the Tour du Haut Var.
Russell Downing then sprinted to win the GP de la Ville de Lilliers at the start of the month.
Wilkinson’s victory also comes a year after then BC Olympic Academy rider Luke Rowe led the race for one day, before finishing fifth overall.
Tour de Normandie 2012 stage three: Forges-les-eaux to Gaillon, 61km
1. Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Endura Racing in 1-15-18
2. Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana CT
3. Johan Landstrom (Swe) Team Cyklecity.se
4. Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller all at st.
5. Jasper Bouvenhuis (Ned) Rabobank CT at 1-05
6. Yoeri Havik (Ned) Cylingteam De Rijke
7. Giorgio Brambilla (Ita) Leopard-Trek CT
8. Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller
9. Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Rabobank CT
10. Scott Thwaites (GBr) Endura Racing all at st.
General classification after stage three
1. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Europcar in 6-00-07
2. Guillaume Malle (Fra) Veranda Rideau-U at 6 sec
3. Alexandr Pluischin (Mda) Leopard-Trek CT at 19 sec
4. Johan Landstrom (Swe) Team Cyklecity.se at 1-22
5. Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Endura Racing at st.