Matthew Goss (CSC) outsprinted Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) and Roger Hammond (T-Mobile) to win stage three of the Tour of Britain in Wolverhampton on Wednesday.
The three were part of an eight-rider break that formed after just three miles of the 94.83-mile stage. The move also included Martijn Maaskant (Rabobank), Zak Dempster (SouthAustrallia.com), local hero Paul Manning (Great Britain), Rob Partridge (Recycling.co.uk) and Ben Swift (Barloworld) who scored enough mountain points to take a big lead in the climber?s competition.
The eight opened a clear lead by working smoothly together all day, with only Partridge and Swift losing contact in the fast run in to Wolverhampton. Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) bounced back form his bad day on Tuesday, beating his Isle of Man rival John Bellis (Great Britain) to win the bunch sprint six minutes behind.
Tuesday?s stage winner Nikolai Trusov (Tinkoff) finished in the main bunch and retained the race lead and the coveted yellow jersey. He still leads Australia?s Luke Roberts (CSC) by eight seconds, and Piet Rooijakkers (Skil) is third at 12 seconds.
After T-Mobile?s disappointing performance on stage two to Taunton, Hammond was determined to go for the stage win but just didn’t have enough final speed to beat Goss and Bichot.
?It was a long day out there. I paid a bit for yesterday?s effort in the finale, but I really wanted to come out showing something today,? Hammond told cyclingweekly.co.uk.
?Goss was fresh after taking it easy yesterday, so he was fresh and fast and that made him tough to beat. I was up there and I?m tied for the green points jersey so that?s a new objective. I?ll try and recover and have another go for a stage win later in the race as well.?
The 92 riders left in the Tour of Britain made a long transfer to Rotherham on Wednesday afternoon for Thursday?s fourth stage from Rotherham to Bradford. The 101.5-mile stage includes the Cow and Calf climb just 13 miles from the finish and the steep final section is expected to spark decisive late attacks.
TOUR OF BRITAIN: STAGE THREE RESULTS
1 Matthew Goss (CSC)
2 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Agritubel
3 Roger Hammond (T-Mobile) all same time.
OVERALL AFTER STAGE THREE
1 Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff
Click here to see a gallery of photos from Tour of Britain stage three
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Click here to view a gallery of photos from the Tour of Britain prologue
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Cavendish wins Tour of Britain prologue
Tour of Britain 2007 preview
Official site: www.tourofbritain.co.uk.