Team Sky sprinter Elia Viviani took his second stage win of the 2015 Tour of Britain on stage three, as overall leader Petr Vakoc (Etixx – Quick-Step) crashed with 3.2km to go to lose the overall lead.
Viviani took the sprint win into Kelso despite not having any teammates leading him out in the final kilometre or so. The Italian sat on the wheel of the Lotto-Soudal train, who were working for Jens Debusschere rather than André Greipel, before following the wheel of Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) who launched his sprint first to the line.
The Norwegian faded in the final metres however, and Viviani was able to move round him in the final straight to take a second stage victory after his stage one triumph.
He was quickly followed to the line by Movistar fast-man Juan José Lobato, who moved into the yellow jersey of overall leader after starting 11 seconds behind the day’s leader, Vakoc.
The Czech national champion, who took the GC lead after his solo effort into Colne on Monday, had ridden safely in the bunch protected by his Etixx teammates until disaster struck shortly before the finish.
The 23-year-old was taken down in a crash which also seemed to involve Great Britain’s Hugh Carthy just outside the 3km mark which would have seen him given the same time as the race leader.
The crash meant that many of the Etixx riders dropped back to potentially pace him back to save as much time as possible, meaning a sprint leadout for Mark Cavendish wasn’t possible. Matteo Trentin was the only Etixx rider present in the sprint finish however, taking third behind Lobato.
Vakoc was unable to recover from the crash in time to save his narrow overall lead, but did finish the stage, rolling in around 10 minutes after Viviani crossed the line in victory.
Watch: Tour of Britain 2015 ten riders to watch
The day had been dominated by a six-man breakaway, which contained Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka), Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis), Marcin Bialoblocki (ONE Pro Cycling), Aidis Kruopis (An-Post – Chain Reaction), Johnny McEvoy (NFTO), Russell Downing (Cult Energy).
The group established a maximum six minute gap, but were cut down to three as Farrar pushed for mountain points over the top of Wilton Hill with 162km gone. Only Cronshaw and Bialoblocki seemed able to follow and the three began to stretch the gap out again after it had fallen to around two minutes or so.
With Johnny McEvoy, who was a 1-10 down on GC, falling out of the break the peloton were less inclined to chase hard after the three leaders, but it became apparent that they wouldn’t make it to the finish as they started to lose time on the final climb of Dingleton.
In the end they were drawn in by the main bunch after the work of Cannondale-Garmin, Lotto-Soudal and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) on the front, with Viviani coming out on top for a second time at the 2015 Tour of Britain.
Wednesday’s fourth stage sees the peloton take on a 217.4km route from Edinburgh to Blyth, with another sprint finish likely.
Tour of Britain 2015, stage three: Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso (216km)
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky, in 5-08-18
2. Juan José Lobato (Esp) Movistar
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
4. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
6. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins
7. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin
8. Graham Briggs (GBr) JLT-Condor
9. Alex Peters (GBr) Great Britain
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky, all same time
Overall classification after stage three
1. Juan José Lobato (Esp) Movistar, in 15-37-04
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka, at 10 secs
3. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC, at 12 secs
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 13 secs
5. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin, st
6. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins, at 14 secs
7. Graham Briggs (GBr) JLT-Condor, st
8. Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy, st
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step, at 18 secs
10. Ruben Fernandez (Esp) Movistar, at 22 secs