Tour of Britain 2011, stage three photo gallery by Andy Jones>>

Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) won the third stage of the 2011 Tour of Britain in Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday to take the overall lead in the race.

The former cyclo-cross world champion took the bunch sprint at the twisting, slightly uphill finish from a reduced peloton after the Sky and HTC-Highroad teams wound up the pace to catch an early escape group.

Boom’s Rabobank team-mate Michael Matthews placed second with British overall hope Geraint Thomas (Sky) in third. Stage one winner Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) placed fifth.

Boom takes over the race lead from Cavendish, who now trails Boom by three seconds. Thomas is third overall at six seconds.

“With 200 metres to go I managed to jump over Cummings and Thomas and then the corners started so they couldn’t pass us anymore,” said Boom after the win. “My first aim was to pull for Michael [Matthews] and then I felt good so I am happy to win.

“We knew that you can’t bring HTC and Cavendish or the Sky boys to the finish. We knew we would have to surprise them, and we managed to do that.”

Business as usual

After Monday’s stage two cancellation due to adverse weather conditions, it was back to the plan for stage three in Stoke-on-Trent.

Opening stage escapee Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport-Specialized) again took the reins of the race, forming an early breakaway with Andrew Fenn (An Post) and Boy van Poppel (United Healthcare). The trio worked hard to quickly distance the bunch, expanding their time gap over the bunch to three minutes after 40km.

Behind, Sky advanced to the head of the bunch en masse, and the British squad’s ferocious pace and the stiff cross-winds soon started to put some riders in difficulty. The peloton eventually split, with all six Sky riders up front in a group with Cavendish as they caught the escapees to form a unit of 27 riders.

The leaders maintained the fast pace until Sky’s Dowsett attacked with 18km to go. His team-mates promptly stopped riding at the head of the lead group to let Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad squad do the work.

As Dowsett hit the 10km banner, his lead had reached 20 seconds as HTC continued the chase. The second peloton dropped earlier were around four minutes adrift at this point.

Dowsett continued to time-trial his way solo to the finish, stretching the gap to 25 seconds before his advantage was whittled away by the chasing HTC riders and he was caught in the final kilometre.

The free-for-all to the line saw Rabobank come out on top, with Boom and Matthews taking a one-two.

Barry Markus (Vacansoleil) became the second rider to abandon the race after Jens Voigt (Leopard-Trek) crashed out of the opening stage. Markus abandoned after suffering cuts as a result of a fall.

On Wednesday, the riders face what could prove to be the toughest stage of the race yet – an undulating 183.7km route in Wales from Welshpool to Caerphilly.


Tour of Britain 2011, stage three: Stoke-on-Trent, 140km

1. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank in 3-23-42

2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank

3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky

4. Steve Cummings (GB) Sky

5. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad

6. Ian Bibby (GB) Motorpoint

7. Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB) Rapha Condor Sharp

8. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen

9. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard Trek

10. Andrew Fenn (GB) An Post all same time

Overall classification after stage three

Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank in 8-04-35

2. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 3 secs

3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 6 secs

4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 7 secs

5. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) United Healthcare at 8 secs

6. Andrew Fenn (GB) An Post at same time

7. Ian Bibby (GB) Motorpoint at 13 secs

8. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek at same time

9. Steve Cummings (GB) Sky at same time

10. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at same time

Prostate Cancer Charity points classification

Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad

Skoda King of the Mountains classification

Russell Hampton (GB) Sigma Sport-Specialized

Yodel sprints classification

Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post

Stoke fans, Tour of Britain 2011, stage three

Stoke fans

Tour of Britain 2011, stage three

Stage three action

Fenn, Hampton and Van Poppel in break, Tour of Britain 2011, stage three

Andrew Fenn, Russell Hampton and Boy van Poppel in escape group

Lars Boom wins stage, Tour of Britain 2011, stage three

Lars Boom distances his rivals to take stage three

Lars Boom takes lead, Tour of Britain 2011, stage three

Lars Boom in the gold leader’s jersey

Related links

Lars Boom: Rider Profile

Tour of Britain 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Tour of Britain 2011: Latest news

Tour of Britain stage two cancelled due to adverse weather

Gale force winds set to batter Tour of Britain bunch on Monday

Cycling stars ready for Tour of Britain

Raleigh aim for top ten in Tour of Britain

Cavendish confirmed for Tour of Britain

Sky announces Tour of Britain team

Hushovd to ride Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain returns to central London for 2011 finale

Scotland getting ready for 2011 Tour of Britain start

Leopard-Trek sign up for 2011 Tour of Britain

Final day time trial for 2011 Tour of Britain

IG Markets sponsor Tour of Britain leader’s jersey

Tour of Britain set for Scotland start

Tour of Britain 2011: Stage reports

Cavendish wins opening stage of Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain 2011: Photo galleries

By Andy Jones

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Tour of Britain 2011: Press conference photo gallery

Tour of Britain 2011: Riders warm up photo gallery

Tour of Britain 2011: Start list

Tour of Britain 2011: Provisional start list

Tour of Britain 2011: TV guide

Tour of Britain 2011: ITV4 TV schedule

  • Jon

    Not to mention some impressive climbing by Rapha’s Jon Tiernan-Locke, who went on to finish 7th in the stage. For anyone who didn’t see it he rode out of the bunch and went up Gun Hill at a hell of a pace to ride straight past the 3 man break and over the top first, then he got up the next hill first as well. Good to see our domestic teams taking it to the pro tour lot.