Kamiel Bonneu (Vlaanderen-Baloise) kicked out of a four-rider escape group to win stage 3 of the Tour of Britain after a nailbiting final saw the break fend off the bunch.
Bonneu attacked out of the foursome in the final kilometer of a wet and wild stage into Sunderland and held off Ben Perry (Wiv Sungod) for second.
Alexandar Richardson (Saint Piran) rounded out the podium, with Mathijs Passchens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces) missing out after looking most active in the break.
Overnight GC leader Corbin Strong (Israel Premier Tech) was initially allowed to keep the race lead after the jury decided that no time gap would be awarded between the break and the peloton at the finish line. However, several hours after the stage finished, the results were amended to give a seven-second gap between Bonneu and Perry, and the peloton.
This time gap was enough to make Perry the new race leader with a seven-second advantage over Strong.
“I’m very good – today was a nice day,” Bonneu said.
I saw it was 500 to go and I thought if someone else reacts now it’s lost, so I hoped they would doubt. I think they did a bit, but it was good for me it was a little uphill, where I’m stronger.
“I thought 500 meters was very long, so at 150 I had to sit down but I thought, ‘keep pushing keep pushing.’ At 50 to go I didn’t see anyone near so I knew it was in the pocket.”
Tuesday’s stage saw the peloton pedal through a tricky 164km stage riddled with lumps and bumps in a rain-sodden day through the north of England.
Three categorized climbs and a stack of small ramps accumulated some 2,500m of uphill to sap’ strength before the downward tilting final in coastal city Sunderland.
Passchenss, Perry, Richardson, and Bonneu made the day’s early break in what seemed to be a doomed move.
Passchens and Perry started 14 seconds off GC and the finish was suited for a sprint, so the stage looked set for a bunch gallop into Sunderland.
The gap hovered at around three minutes for the first 100km and seemed under control, but ballooned out to nearly five minutes as the foursome worked faultlessly and only Israel Premier Tech committed to the chase in the bunch behind.
The escape quartet still had almost five minutes’ advantage as the race tilted into its final hour and the race lay on a knife edge. Ineos Grenadiers and DSM started to add some strength to the chase as the break continued to work together.
Passchens looked strongest in the move and tried a solo attack at 25km to go to briefly disrupt the bunch before the four came back together.
Michal Kwiatkowski and Andrey Amador piled on at the front of the peloton, but the gap to the front four remained around two minutes as the race hit the final 10km.
Kamiel Bonneu (@TeamSVB) wins stage three of the @AJBell Tour of Britain 🇬🇧 in Sunderland 🏆@benjefperry takes second, @AlexandarRicha2 third after the day-long breakaway stays clear. #TourOfBritain 🔴🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/Tj0tq7hC4N
— AJ Bell Tour of Britain 🇬🇧 (@TourofBritain) September 6, 2022
The break looked all-set to score an unlikely victory at 3km to go. The peloton was pushing hard, just 25 seconds back in a final made tenser by the waterlogged roads.
Passchens drove the attackers into the final before Bonneu opened the accelerations in the final kilometer.
Perry was fastest to counter but Bonneu held off the Canadian’s challenge to secure victory.
Richardson crossed the line third, with the peloton powering home moments later.