Through enormous crowds reminiscent of last year’s Tour de France, Lars Petter Nordhaug has become the first ever winner of the Tour de Yorkshire on stage three into Leeds won by Ben Hermans (BMC Racing).
Hermans attacked with 10km of an exceptionally difficult stage through the Pennines remaining. He bridged to the lone remnant of the day’s breakaway, Giant-Alpecin youngster Lawson Craddock, and held off the charging bunch in Roundhay Park.
Behind him Nordhaug, who withstood late attacks from his closest rival in the race, Samuel Sanchez (BMC), finished sixth to secure the blue and yellow jersey of overall winner. Greg Van Avermaet finished second on the day to ensure a Belgian BMC one-two.
Erick Rowsell was the best of the British riders and teams, finishing eighth overall for Madison-Genesis. Rich Handley (JLT-Condor) and Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) were not far behind in tenth and 11th respectively, while Scott Davies (Great Britain) had a fine ride to 12th overall.
The stage capped an outstanding weekend in Yorkshire, with an estimated 750,000 spectators taking to Sunday’s route between Wakefield and Roundhay Park to cheer on the riders, bringing the total spectator count over the three days to an estimated 1.5 million people. Those fans saw a great final day of racing.
The initial break of Ian Bibby (NFTO), Rasmus Quaade (Cult Energy), Craddock, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling), Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) and James McLoughlin (Madison-Genesis) stretched a lead of around five minutes.
Bibby would earn enough points over the six categorised summits to finish second overall in the King of the Mountains competition. However that endless barrage of typical Yorkshire climbs (some of them categorised, most of them not) caused carnage in the peloton and front runners.
Despite attacks fizzing in from Josh Edmondson (Great Britain) on the Cow and Calf and Cummings on the Chevin, Team Sky’s Nordhaug, supported by Philip Deignan, kept a lid on proceedings and took his first overall win since re-joining Sky at the beginning of the season.
Tour de Yorkshire stage three: Wakefield to Leeds, 167km
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing in 4:27:22
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at nine seconds
3. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
4. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing
5. Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot-Oranje
6. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
7. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Cult Energy
8. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
9. Steven Kruiswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
10. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar all at s.t.
Final overall classification
1. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky in 12:47:56
2. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing at 11 secs
3. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar at s.t.
4. Stephane Rossetto (Fra) at 13 secs
5. Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky at 24 secs
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing at 1:05
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 1:15
8. Erick Rowsell (GBr) Madison-Genesis at 1:21
9. Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot-Oranje at 1:27
10. Richard Handley (GBr) JLT-Condor at s.t.