Luke Rowe moved into the lead of the seven-day Tour of Normandy yesterday afternoon, after finishing third after stage three yesterday morning.
After taking second in Monday’s prologue, the two bonus seconds netted him the yellow jersey.
On a split day, the third-year Academy rider finished comfortably in the bunch in the afternoon’s short stage to maintain the lead.
“As a team we spend a lot of time on track lo-pros; it was hoped that the training would work,” Academy coach Chris Newton said, referring to his prologue result. “Luke’s spent more time with the Olympic Podium Programme than the Academy this winter too.”
21 year old Rowe was one of the Academy’s best performers last year, taking a host of top ten finishes in prestigious U23 races.
Newton didn’t want to speculate on his chances of keeping the lead to the race’s conclusion on Sunday. “Given the profile, it’s very up and down, there’s a lot of action.”
“It’s a very difficult race to try and control, and the age range of the Academy is very big. We’ll do our utmost to keep the yellow jersey, but take this as a good result.”
Endura are also getting in the mix out in Normandy. Tuesday’s
stage saw a breakaway survive to the finish, containing Swede Alex Wetterhall. He and Jack Bauer lie third and fifth overall.
Possessing a reputation for tough racing, the Tour of Normandy is seen as a stepping stone to the professional ranks. Past winners include Viatcheslav Ekimov and Thor Hushovd.
Tour of Normandy, stage 3: Forges-les-Eaux – Grand Couronne, 83km
1. Guillaume Blot (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller 1-43-17
2. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
3. Luke Rowe (GBr) Great Britain
6. Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing
8. Graham Briggs (GBr) Rapha-Condor-Sharp at same time
Tour of Normandy, stage 4: Grand Couronne – Elbeuf-sur-Seine, 72km
1. Fabian Bacquet (Fra) Auber 93 1-38-03
2. Cyrille Patoux (Fra) VC Rouen 76
3. Barry Markus (Ned) Rabobank Continental
7. Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing
19. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Great Britain
66. Luke Rowe (GBr) Great Britain all at same time
General classification after stage 3b
1. Luke Rowe (GBr) Great Britain 8-31-40
2. Thomas Kvist (Den) Glud & Marstrand at 2secs
3. Alexander Wetterhall (Swe) Endura Racing at 3secs
4. Johan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller at 4secs
5. Jack Bauer (Nzl) Endura Racing
20. Kristian House (GBr) Rapha-Condor-Sharp at 19secs
Rowe and Christian second and third in Normandy opener