Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia) conquered the cobbles of the fearsome Constitution Hill to win stage three of the Tour of Britain in Swansea on Monday.
Albasini took no notice of the cobbles of the one-in-four Constitution Hill, rendered slippery and treacherous by the morning’s persistent rain. The Swiss rider soloed up the crowd-lined slope to then take the short descent into Swansea largely unchallenged.
Motorpoint’s Ian Bibby put in a fantastic ride to stay in touch with the leaders and finish in second place – only eight seconds behind Albasini.
Albasini takes the overall race lead from Team Sky’s Greg Henderson after the New Zealander struggled over the testing Welsh terrain.
War of attrition
The Sky-led peloton kept things under control for the first half of the stage, despite numerous attempts from several groups of riders to form a break.
It wasn’t until after Builth Wells that a successful nine-man escape group formed, including Ian Bibby (Motorpoint), Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions), Evan Oliphant (Endura) and Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport).
By the peak of Black Mountain, Meyer had shed his companions but behind him in the mist Albasini had managed to bridge up to Meyer’s eight former companions with the help of HTC-Columbia team-mate Tony Martin.
Meyer forged ahead, with Albasini and the eight others working hard to try and pull back the Australian. They made contact a short way before the decisive climb up Constitution Hill, and the leaders promptly dropped Martin as Albasini broke free to ascend the cobbles alone, and subsequently take the win and the leader’s jersey.
Tour of Britain 2010, stage three: Newtown to Swansea, 150km
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Columbia in 3-40-37
2. Ian Bibby (GB) Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta at 8 secs
3. Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport-Vlaanderen
4. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions at 21 secs
5. Mark McNally (GB) AN Post-Sean Kelly at 28 secs
6. Simon Richardson (GB) Sigma Sport at 31 secs
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank at 1-15
8. Jack Bauer (NZ) Endura Racing at 1-16
9. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia at 1-18
10. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil at 1-24
Overall classification after stage three
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Columbia in 10-57-01
2. Greg Henderson (NZ) Team Sky at 1-26
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank at 1-28
4. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil at 1-41
5. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil at 1-46
6. Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil at 2-08
7. Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) ISD-Neri at 2-08
8. Travis Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions at 2-10
9. Christian Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions at 2-10
10. Rob Partridge (GB) Endura Racing at 2-13
Michael Albasini attacks on Constitution Hill
Rain rendered the cobbles of Constitution Hill slippery and lethal
Michael Albasini takes the overall lead
Tour of Britain 2010: Related links
Cobbles of Constitution Hill awaiting the Tour of Britain