Young German rider Max Walscheid (Sunweb) took victory on stage three of the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire, beating race leader Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) to victory in Scarborough.
The 24-year-old timed his sprint perfectly to leave everyone his wake just ahead of the line, with Jon Aberasturi (Euskadi-Murias) pipping Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) to third behind Cort Nielsen.
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The Dane retains the overall lead after stage three, adding six bonus seconds for his runner-up spot and extending his gap to 10 seconds over Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) ahead of Sunday’s finale.
How it happened
Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling), Johnny McEvoy (Madison Genesis), Robbert de Greef (Roompot), Mathias Le Turnier (Cofidis), Adam Kenway (Vitus) got away as the early break, establishing a maximum gap of around three minutes.
They were able to hold off the chasing bunch over the first categorised climb of the day Côte de Sutton Bank, but things began to turn against them approaching the second of the day Côte de Silpho.
They held on over the top of the climb with 51km to go, but the gap was closing fast, and they were eventually caught with just over 30km to go.
The climb and the increases in speed however saw the bunch split, with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data getting caught in a group behind the peloton, which eventually drifted to a minute back (and further to two minutes with 17km to go).
That was in part thanks to the work of Vital Concept, who rode hard on the front within the final 28km to try and keep the Cavendish group away and set up the sprint for Bryan Coquard.
But the various uncategorised ups and downs of the run in to Scarborough allowed for some attacks, with four riders – Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Angelo Tulik (Direct Energie), Loïc Chetout (Cofidis) and Leonardo Basso (Sky) – going clear with 25km to go and gaining a small gap.
Cyril Barthe (Euskadi-Murias) was able to bridge across as race leader Magnus Cort Nielsen’s Astana chased on, concerned about Bookwalter’s (at 21 seconds in GC) presence in the front group.
As Cort Nielsen began to lose team-mates, the group out five began to ride in earnest and drive out a gap up to 10 seconds, but the sprinters’ teams began to muster on the front to try and pull things back together.
The gap was eventually closed with 9.5km to go as One Pro Cycling took a turn on the front.
The next action came with around 4.7km to go as Sylvain Chavanel attacked off the front, getting a decent gap before three riders set off in pursuit along with Chavanel’s team-meat Jonathan Hivert, who marked the other three before they were all pulled back.
It wasn’t to be for the Frenchman though, as the peloton eventually caught him in the final 100m and the sprinters began a drag race for the line.
Bryan Coquard was the first to launch after being dropped off by his Vital Concept lead out, but he couldn’t stop race leader Cort Nielsen and Max Walscheid (Sunweb) battling right up to the line, with German Walscheid able to get ahead of Nielsen to the line to take victory.
Cort Nielsen was able to take six bonus seconds for second place on the stage to extend his overall lead to 10 seconds over Greg Van Avermaet.
The riders will take on the final 189.5km stage to Leeds on Sunday with six categorised climbs en route.
Tour de Yorkshire 2018 stage three: Richmond to Scarborough (184km)
1 Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb, in 4-10-27
2 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
3 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Esp) Euskadi-Murias
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept
5 Robert-Jon McCarthy (Irl) JLT Condor
6 Connor Swift (GBr) Madison Genesis
7 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
9 Emils Liepins (Lat) One Pro Cycling
10 Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling, all same time
Overall classification after stage three
1 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana, in 11-44-02
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, at 10 secs
3 Eduard Prades (Esp) Euskadi-Murias, at 12 secs
4 Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling, at 21s
5 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin, st
6 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team, at 27s
7 Steff Cras (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin, st
8 Etienne van Empel (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij, at 29s
9 Ian Bibby (GBr) JLT Condor, st
10 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team, at 39s