Tokyo silver-medallist Ethan Hayter has taken the overall lead in the Tour of Britain after stage three in Wales.
Hayter and his INEOS Grenadiers colleagues posted a time of 20:22 in the team time trial in Carmarthenshire, which was enough to hand them the stage victory and send Hayter to the top of the individual standings.
They were 17.5 seconds ahead of second-placed Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Hayter (9:40:21) is six seconds ahead of his Grenadiers team-mate Rohan Dennis in second, with stage one winner Wout van Aert in third.
— AJ Bell Tour of Britain 🇬🇧 (@TourofBritain) September 7, 2021
American Rob Carpenter led the tour after an impressive performance in Devon on Monday but after his Rally Cycling team finished 11th in Wales, he has dropped down to 12th.
Tour of Norway winner Hayter, who took silver on the track in the madison at this summer’s Olympics, was pleased with his team’s effort.
He said: “All six riders gave everything and pulled off a really good team time trial. That’s really satisfying to see.
“It’s hard leading this race with five days left. It’s super-tough racing and really hard to control. We’re up against it but it’s better to have 16 seconds (advantage) than be behind 16 seconds.
“It was a good effort and I’ve been fourth and second the last two days, which is not bad at all. Hopefully I can keep getting better.”
The tour, which finishes with the Stonehaven to Aberdeen stage on Sunday, had its shortage stage of the race so far, from Llandeilo to the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
Hayter, Dennis, Richie Porte, Owain Doull, Michal Kwiatkowski and Carlos Rodriguez Cano headed the pack on day three. Deceuninck – Quick-Step have two of their riders inside the top five of the individual standings, with Julian Alaphilippe fourth and Denmark’s Mikkel Honore (both 9:40:44) in fifth.
Great Britain’s Jacob Scott took both the King of the Mountain and sprints jersey on Tuesday, for team Canyon Dhb SunGod.
Stage four gets underway on Wednesday, with a 210km ride between Aberaeron and Llandudno.
He told ITV4: “I think if you go constantly in the red, you’ll blow up and wouldn’t have made it over the last climb.
“There was nothing crazy going on (in planning for the stage) – the key is to hold speed as best as possible and do what times you can at the front.
“Short 20-minute races is very similar to track-racing. Team time trial suits a lot of guys that are good at sprints and leadouts, so I hope I played my part well.
“It’s going to be hard to control the next five days. It could be fireworks or it could be a bit more straightforward.”