Home favorite Bradley Wiggins took control of the Tour of Britain after dominating the time-trial third stage on Tuesday. The Team Sky rider clocked 19min 54.2sec around the 16km course in northern England, leaving him 33 seconds ahead of fellow Briton Ian Stannard in the overall standings.
"Admittedly it's not been a great season up to now for one reason or another," said Wiggins, who had a failed bid at the Giro d'Italia, but is now shaping up well for a tilt at the World Championships in Florence later this month. "But I've been training right through July and I couldn't tell you how many times I've gone round this course."
Wiggins, who came into Tuesday's stage in 12th position, added: "It was nice to do a performance like that after the last two days. "To win these races... I'm not a great climber so I had to get as much out of that time trial as possible. I had to take every second I could really."
New Zealander Jack Bauer was third in the time-trial, finishing 42sec short of Wiggins' mark and behind Stannard. Overnight leader Gerald Ciolek of MTN Qhubeka fell off the pace, the German clocking 21:45.
Tour of Britain Stage 3
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/Sky) 19:54:
2. Ian Stannard (GBR/Sky) @ :36
3. Jack Bauer (NZL/Garmin Sharp) @ :42
4. Martin Elmiger (SUI/IAM Cycling) @ :54
5. Alex Dowsett (GBR/Movistar) @ :56
General Classification After Stage 3
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/Sky) 11:25:54
2. Ian Stannard (GBR/Sky) @ :37
3. Martin Elmiger (SUI/IAM Cycling) @ :47
4. Jack Bauer (NZL/Garmin Sharp) @ :55
5. Alex Dowsett (GBR/Movistar) @ :57