Alex Dowsett’s spell in the leader’s jersey at the Tour de l’Avenir ended on Wednesday as the Briton lost time on stage three’s tough mountain finish.

The Great Britain rider finished the 157km stage atop Col du Béal 23 minutes and 36 seconds adrift of stage winner Yannick Eijssen (Belgium), who takes over the race lead. The stage featured four categorised climbs.

Dowsett took over the race lead after prologue winner Taylor Phinney (USA) crashed badly during Tuesday’s rain-swept stage. Dowsett had placed second behind Phinney in the opening prologue.

Britain’s top-placed rider in the Tour de l’Avenir overall is now Luke Rowe at 54th, 17 minutes and nine seconds behind 2011 BMC Racing Team signing Eijssen.

One notable performance on Wednesday’s stage was Australian Timothy Roe who sustained a laceration to his arm after tangling with a fence on Tuesday. Climbing specialist Roe not only recovered enough to start stage three, but finished eighth and now lies fourth overall.

The eight-day Tour de l’Avenir is open to under-23 riders and runs from Sunday, September 5, to Sunday, September 12. Past winners include Greg Lemond (1982), Olaf Ludwig (1983), Charly Mottet (1984), Denis Menchov (2001), Sylvain Calzati (2004) and Lars Bak (2005).  

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Stage two: Dowsett takes Tour de l’Avenir lead



Stage one: Phinney retains lead



Prologue: Phinney pips Dowsett in Tour de l’Avenir prologue



British fields strong Tour de l’Avenir squad