Bonneu sprints to victory in Sunderland on stage three of the Tour of Britain

All-day break of four holds off the bunch by a whisker, with the Sport Vlaanderen rider taking the spoils

Kamiel Bonneu won the day in Sunderland, sprinting out of the break of four that had survived all day in the rain. Corbin Strong (Israel-PremierTech) clung on to the leader's jersey by the skin of his teeth as Bonneu's fellow escapee Ben Perry (Wiv-Sungod) moved up into equal time with Strong.

The riders were treated to the worst the British weather could throw at them as they tackled the 163.6km outing from Durham to its North-East neighbour Sunderland, looping into the North Pennines and over three classified climbs as it went.

Bonneu (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) attacked from the quartet of escapees, who had been off the front for nearly 150km, with 500m to go and managed to hold on till the line. Right behind him were Perry and fellow escapees Alex Richardson (Saint Piran) and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB), with the bunch finishing directly behind.

How it happened

Following a flurry of early attacks as the race headed west out of Durham towards the North Pennines, the day's break of four riders — Richardson, Paasschens, Perry and Bonneu — eventually managed to extricate itself around the 15km mark.

It looked as though it could have been dead in the water, with none of the quartet seemingly committed. But Richardson appeared to rally the troops and was heard by the TV moto urging his fellow escapees on with a promise of "40K of tailwinds" into the finish. At the finish Bonneu explained how Richardson had urged them to wait and see — the peloton would let them go. And so it was: the bunch was apparently more than happy with the break and reluctant to field another round of attacks, and despite both break and bunch progressing at almost a potter, the gap began to slowly build.

One of the break's first actions was to sweep up the points in the first intermediate sprint at Stanhope, with Perry first through. Twenty kilometres later, having scaled the day's first classified climb of Chapel Fell, the break was out to three minutes. Bonneu was first over the ascent, with mountains leader Jacob Scott (Wiv-Sungod) taking fifth in the peloton behind. Climber Bonneu again claimed the points over the day's second climb, the cat-two Billy Lane

It was only when the finish line was less than 50km distant that the bunch began to really pay attention, with Israel-PremierTech, joined by Ineos Grenadiers, starting to pull harder on the front.

With the break reaping the rewards of having been given a steady ride earlier on, the gap had barely altered 10km later, and it began to look as though the peloton had left it too late. It was only when the race approached 30km to go that the gap started falling significantly, with a succession of nasty lumps battering the riders' legs. Richardson the instigator looked to be ailing, missing turns and even yo-yoing off the back.

Approaching the third and final climb of High Moorsley with 20km left, the quartet still had two-and-a-half minutes, and most of that still remained 10km later when Richardson finally showed his cards and began attacking the group. Despite repeated attempts, the Londoner was unable to get away, but as the escapees tussled at the front, the peloton behind was cutting a fierce bow wave through the standing water, and with 5km to ride the gap was down to a minute.

It was Paasschens the big Dutchman, who looked the strongest, shutting down Richardson's constant attacks easily and all the while working hard on the front.

When the leadout trains finally got into gear in the last 4km, it looked as though all the infighting had left the break doomed, but they held on with almost perfect timing. Only Perry was left ruing the lost time, for he only need a second more to take the red leader's jersey.


1. Kamiel Bonneu (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 4-05-33
2. Benjamin Perry (Can) Wiv-Sungod
3. Alexandar Richardson (GBR) Saint Piran
4. Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB
5. Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Jake Stewart (GBR) Great Britain
7. Sam Watson (GBR) Great Britain
8. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar
9. Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) Team DSM
10. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise


1. Corbin Strong (NZl) Israel-PremierTech in 12-50-31
2. Benjamin Perry (Can) Wiv-Sungod
3. Mathijs Paaschens (Ned) Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB
4. Jake Stewart (GBR) Great Britain
5. Omar Fraile (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
6. Anders Halland Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling
7. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar
8. Tom Pidcock (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers
9. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness), but he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.