Olympic time trial champion Bradley Wiggins has shown he is on track for a world title tilt next week, winning stage three of the Tour of Britain today.
Wiggins assumed the overall lead with a calculated ride over the 16km course. He was a class above his rivals, stopping the clock at 19 minutes and 54 seconds with Sky teammate Ian Stannard 32 seconds off the pace for second and Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) 42 seconds adrift for third.
Giro d'Italia stage winner, Alex Dowsett (Movistar), who will also represent Great Britain at the world championships in Tuscany, Italy clocked 20:50, for fifth, in wet conditions. The 24-year-old has been managing illness in the lead-up to the Britain stage race.
Wiggins entered the event on the back of the Eneco Tour in which he finished its fifth stage time trial in fifth. Today's course isn't comparable to that of the world titles but Wiggins, who has flown under the radar until now, appears up for it.
Stannard as well as Bauer, Owain Doull (Great Britain), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) and Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) were among those to sit in the hot seat throughout the race.
Wiggins, who took the leader's gold jersey from Milan-San Remo champion Gerald Ciolek (MTN Qhubeka), entered the tour with overall ambitions and his team will now look to defend its position for the remainder.
"On the corners, I got off the first time and pushed the bike to see how slippery it was. Next time I took it 40km/h, then I took it 50, then 55 and the last time I got behind the car and came off at 60km/h," Wiggins said post-race.
"I just wanted to be 100 per cent sure that I could do that in a race. It's commitment really. To win these races, I'm not a great climber like Dan Martin or [Nairo] Quintana and these guys so to do a time trial and get as much out of that as possible, and perhaps gain in some areas where guys won't pay as much attention, especially when it's raining, I've got to take every second."
Tour of Britain 2013, stage three: Knowsley to Knowsley, 16km time trial
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky in 19-54.20
2. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky at 32 secs
3. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp at 42 secs
4. Martin Elmiger (Sui) IAM Cycling at 54 secs
5. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar at 56 secs
6. David Lopez (Spa) Sky at 1-16
7. Alex Wetterhall (Swe) NetApp-Endura at 1-20
8. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1-22
9. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) MTN Qhubeka at 1-25
10. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 1-26
Overall classification after stage three
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky in 11-25-54
2. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky at 33 secs
3. Martin Elmiger (Sui) IAM Cycling at 47 secs
4. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp at 55 secs
5. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar at 57 secs
6. David Lopez (Spa) Sky at 1-17
7. Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 1-18
8. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) MTN Qhubeka at 1-18
9. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN Qhubeka at 1-21
10. Alex Wetterhall (Swe) NetApp-Endura at 1-21
Bradley Wiggins takes the race lead
Tour of Britain stage three as it happened
Tour of Britain 2013: Coverage index