Graham Briggs outsprinted Kristian House to claim second on stage three of the Tour of Britain. The result is the best performance in the race of any British pro-conti or conti level squad and Briggs’ highest stage finish in the race.
The Yorkshireman had been in a three rider break with Team Sky’s Ian Stannard and Kristian House ever since kilometre 0.
During the 179km stage from Congleton to Tatton Park, the group were briefly joined by Matt Cronshaw of Madison Genesis who dropped back on the second climb of the day.
The trio continued at the front of the race building just under a seven minute lead as the race approach the windswept ascent of the Cat and Fiddle. Once over the top Sky’s Ian Stannard attacked his fellow riders to go it alone for the next 40km.
Dimension Data took up the chase but after a hard day yesterday they couldn’t bring back Stannard or the two chasers of Briggs and House.
JLT Condor’s Graham Briggs worked well with Kristian House (One Pro Cycling) to keep the chasing peloton at bay and into the final kilometres had a healthy five minute lead over the pack.
Stannard continued to power his way to the finish to savour a special solo victory. Briggs won the sprint for second place at 1:40 behind.
Speaking about the stage Graham Briggs commented he was delighted with the performance. “I’m really happy with today. It is my best result in the Tour of Britain on a stage. I’ve been 7th and 8th a few times. I wasn’t meant to go for the break, that wasn’t our plan but I was covering the move when the flag dropped and then we had a gap.
“Yesterday was a really hard day so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Myself, Kristian and Ian just kept riding at a good pace all day. I’ve ridden these roads with John Herety, as its his local area, so I knew what to expect. When Ian attacked over the top of the Cat and Fiddle I tried to sprint after him, he went with so much power that I was killing myself. So Krisitan and I put our heads down and worked together to keep the pace up. John Herety was giving me time gaps in over the radio and the gap was holding and we just kept on the gas.”
Analysing the sprint, the Yorkshireman explained he was ready for a battle – “Into the finish, I was really ready for a sprint, I really wanted it. I ensured I was on Kristian’s wheel and then I saw the gantry and I went as hard as possible. I passed him and then the line came.”
Yorkshire-born, Graham Briggs is a former 2011 British circuit champion, he won the 2014 Tour du Loir et Cher and last year finished inside the top ten on six stages of the Tour of Britain.
The stage top 10:
1 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky
2 Graham Briggs (GBr) JTL Condor presented by Mavic
3 Kristian House (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling
4 Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF
5 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
6 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
7 Christopher Latham (GBr) Team WIGGINS
8 Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team
9 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
10 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-BikeExchange
Julien Vermonte of Extixx Quick-Step remains in the leaders yellow jersey. Tomorrow’s stage from Denbigh to Builth Wells is the longest of race (217km) and holds the most amount of climbing with 4,000m of ascents as the peloton winds through Wales. The profile suggests a break could make it to the finish with the sprinters’ teams facing an incredibly demanding day if they are to control proceedings.