Stage 3 of the Tour of Britain from Congleton to Tatton Park was a stage where the early break of the day would take the spoils. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) showed he was the strongest on the day by going solo with 40km to go and staying clear to take the stage win. Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) took 2nd just ahead of Kristian House (One Pro Cycling).
The 179km stage presented an interesting profile with a gently undulating 90km’s in the opening part of the stage, there was then 3 categorised climbs in quick succession before the final 45km rolled mostly downhill. After yesterday’s tough stage where Steve Cumming’s rode brilliantly to 2nd place, our African Team were looking to protect Cummings’ strong position on the overall GC during today’s unpredictable stage.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka started the stage at the head of the peloton and we were happy to see 4 riders make the break of the day. With none of the breakaway riders a threat on the general classification, we were happy to ride tempo with Etixx-Quickstep for the better part of the stage. As the gap hit 6 minutes there was thought that the other sprint teams might come to assist with the chase but there didn’t seem to be much interest from the other teams.
Jay Thomson and Johann van Zyl continued to eat up the kilometers at the front of the peloton with Cummings’ and Mark Cavendish well protected through the hilly part of the stage. Up front Stannard left his breakaway companions behind just after the final classified climb of the day and that was the stage done and dusted. Our African Team policed the main pack home along with Etixx-Quickstep with Cummings’ still safely in 2nd place overall.
Jay Thomson – Rider
Today’s first priority was to protect Steve’s GC position after his super ride yesterday. We rode just to keep the break in check and would’ve have committed to go for the stage if it was right but no other teams wanted to spend the energy to bring the break back. They were looking at us to do it, with a lot of hard day’s coming we need to make sure we keep everything in the tank that we can to help Steve. So we were happy with the situation today. Obviously it is always great if we can go for the stage win with Cav but we are thinking of the bigger picture here. More opportunities will come our way this week and we will be sure to take them.