Zak Dempster (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) took the Tour DoonHame title in Castle Douglas on Monday by the slimmest of margins. One second separated him from Matt Cronshaw (Raleigh) in second, with Jack Bauer (Endura) in third.
Johnny McEvoy took the stage, winning his second bunch sprint in as many days with Chris Opie (Pendragon-leCol-Colnago) in second and Marcin Bialoclocki (Motorpoint) in third.
“Coming in for the sprint I just went for it,” he told Cycling Weekly. “I took Dempster’s wheel and put everything into it.”
The day opened with Raleigh defending Matt Cronshaw’s two second lead in the GC.
Cronshaw’s lead was quickly lost after Dempster took the first hot spot sprint point and the three seconds that went with it. They put the Rapha-Condor-Sharp man one second in the lead.
A strong break that included Wouter Sybrandy (Sigma Sport) and Magnus Backstedt (UK Youth) did go up the road, and took a two and a half minute lead at the 50-mile mark.
However, Rapha worked well at the front of the bunch to bring them back, despite receiving little help from other teams looking to weaken them as much as possible.
Ian Bibby attacked early in the last few kilometres in similar style to on the second stage, but again was caught by the speeding peloton.
The sprint finish could have shaken up the overall standings once more, had Cronshaw placed ahead of Dempster on the podium – where bonus seconds were up for grabs. However, he didn’t have the legs in the final sprint and finished the stage thirteenth.
“I had to launch my sprint early – with 350 metres to go – to ensure that we caught Bibby,” Dempster said. “So I sacrificed the stage win but I’d far rather win the overall.”
“When we took the three-second bonus I though ‘right-o, the responsibility’s on us now’. We just switched to defence mode,” he continued.
“The guys did really well at the front o f the bunch, and then with ten miles to go I was on my own. Everyone was attacking. I’m going strong, so it was a matter of using other people in the best way possible and not getting too far into the red.”
“I’m definitely disappointed,” Cronshaw reflected after the end of the stage. “But no-one imagined that we’d come here and get anywhere near winning it. I think we’ve made some head turn which I think is deserved because we’re under-rated this season.
“We had a couple of plans for the stage and after Zak took the jersey we tried to put as much pressure on Rapha as we could. We tried to force a Mexican stand-off situation and it worked. I just didn’t quite have the legs in the sprint.”
McEvoy takes his second win in as many stages
Dempster gives Cronshaw a sporting hanshake, moments after having taken his yellow jersey
Rapha-Condor-Sharp on the front of the bunch
Magnus Backstedt celebrates taking the tour’s hot spot sprints jersey
Bauer on the podium in KoM polka-dots
Tour DoonHame stage 3, Dumfries-Castle Douglas, 92 miles
1 Johnny McEvoy (Motorpoint)
2 Chris Opie (Pendragon-LeCol-Colnago)
3 Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint)
4 Zak Dempster (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
5 Yanto Barker (Pendragon-LeCol-Colnago)
6 Marcel Six (Twenty3c-Orbea)
7 Rafa Rodriguez (Twenty3c-Orbea)t
8 Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport)
9 Ian Bibby (Motorpoint)
10 Will Bjergfelt (Motorpoint) all at st
Final GC Standings after stage 3
1 Zak Dempster (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
2 Matt Cronshaw (Team Raleigh) at 1 sec
3 Jack Bauer (Endura) at 12 secs
4 Ian Bibby (Motorpoint) at 13 secs
5 Yanto Barker (Pendragon-LeCol-Colnago) at 16 secs
6 Steve Lampier (Sigma-Sport)
7 Matt Higgins (Corley Cycles-Cervelo) all at st
8 Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport) at 21 secs
9 Marcin Bialoblocki Motorpoint at 1 min 6 secs
10 Alex Wetterhall( Endura) at 1 min 8 secs
Tour DoonHame 2011: Related links
Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones
McEvoy wins DoonHame stage two (report)
Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones
Cronshaw victorious in rain-soaked DoonHame opener (report)
Tour DoonHame 2011: The Big Preview