Team Sky’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug won the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire after protecting his overall lead on stage three, which Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) won solo in Leeds.
Nordhaug and his Team Sky team-mates delivered a typical masterclass in controlling the bunch, pulling in breakaway containing GC rival Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) from going clear, to deliver the Norwegian to victory.
Having picked up a bonus second at an intermediate sprint, Nordhaug ensured he only had to finish the stage with the same time as his fellow members of the stage one-winning breakaway to seal the overall win.
Hermans jumped clear of the peloton to solo to victory just weeks after winning De Brabantse Pijl, but Team Sky ensured they left the White Rose County with a popular overall victory.
Voeckler’s attempts to spoil the British team’s party had seen him join a large group who earned nearly a minute’s advantage on the peloton in the early stages but his presence up the road saw Sky respond immediately.
After working to bring Voeckler back, a much smaller group was allowed to set off to tackle the six categorised climbs, including Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).
Sky continued to lead the chase, with BMC Racing and Europcar keeping a watchful eye just behind, as both groups were quickly cut to size as the steep climbs kicked in.
Edet and Craddock burst clear at the front on the Cote de Goose Eye, with the former Vuelta a Espana King of the Mountains winner, Edet, gobbling up the climbing points.
Though given a sizable lead up front, their advantage had been cut significantly by the time they crested the Cote de Cow and Calf and Craddock, with Edet having sealed the mountains jersey.
Back in the bunch, Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team WIGGINS) was among the riders to lose contact as Nordhaug managed to snaffle the crucial bonus second at the final intermediate sprint.
Britain’s Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) and LottoNL-Jumbo’s Steven Kruijswijk briefly counter-attacked but it was Hermans move that stuck. The Belgian quickly caught and passed the tiring Craddock before powering on alone to claim the stage win.
Nordhaug, meanwhile, finished safely in the bunch to claim the overall win, with Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) and Voeckler rounding off the final podium.
Erick Rowsell (Madison-Genesis) finished in the same group to finish as the top Brit overall in eighth – six seconds clear of Richard Handley (JLT-Condor) – with Cummings and Scott Davies (Great Britain) narrowly missing out on the top ten.
Tour de Yorkshire 2015: stage three – result
1) Ben Hermans (BEL) – BMC Racing – 4.27.22hrs
2) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing – ST
3) Julien Simon (FRA) – Cofidis
4) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – BMC Racing
5) Huub Duyn (NED) – Team Roompot Oranje Peloton
6) Lars Petter Nordhaug (NOR) – Team Sky
7) Alex Krisch (LUX) – Cult Energy
8) Thomas Sprengers (BEL) – Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9) Steven Kruijswijk (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo
10) Thomas Voeckler (FRA) – Team Europcar
1) Lars Petter Nordhaug (NOR) – Team Sky – 12.47.56hrs
2) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – BMC Racing +11”
3) Thomas Voeckler (FRA) – Europcar – ST
4) Stephane Rossetto (FRA) – Cofidis +13”
5) Philip Deignan (IRL) – Team Sky +24”
6) Ben Hermans (BEL) – BMC Racing +1.05
7) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing +1.15
8) Erick Rowsell (GBR) – Madison-Genesis +1.21
9) Huub Duyn (NED) – Team Roompot Oranje Peloton +1.27
10) Richard Handley (GBR) – JLT-Condor – ST
11) Steve Cummings (GBR) – MTN-Qhubeka +1.30
12) Scott Davies (GBR) – Great Britain – ST
18) Steve Lampier (GBR) – Team Raleigh-GAC +2.38