Attacks were launched with 40mph ferocity before, in the final 10 miles of the 97-mile stage from Thames Ditton, Rendell and Postle went clear.
They raced into Welwyn Garden City, building a lead of a minute and posing a threat to the race leader Chris Lillywhite, who did not seem to realise the significance of the move.
Rendell's gain of a minute, plus a 10-second deduction for his placing, made the plumber from Rotorua the new challenger for the yellow jersey.
Lillywhite's lead was trimmed by four seconds to 26sec, and he seemed surprised by Rendell's move. 'There was never any danger. We had it under control, but I did not realise he was so close,' Lillywhite said.
'I think the Banana riders were tiring,' Postle said. 'I have never won anything because I cannot sprint. I am racing regularly in France, and often finish in the top 10.'
Rendell, who is no sprint finisher either, made his bid for victory with 600 yards to go, but Postle's 'kick' 200 yards from the line was more effective. Afterwards Rendell said he had felt unwell, and explained: 'I just went to the head of the field to get an easier ride.'
Ten riders were each penalised 30sec for taking a right-handed route around a roundabout. Fortunately that was their only agony, thanks to the astute policing the race enjoys.
MILK RACE (Stage 3, Thames Ditton to Welwyn Garden City, 98.6 miles): 1 M Postle (Britannia) 3hr 31min 5sec; 2 M Rendell (NZ) +2sec; 3 B Luckwell (GB, Banana) +32; 4 F Hoej (Den) same time; 5 N van der Steen (Neth) +33; 6 F Kruger (SA, Southern Sun) +1min 01sec; 7 P Konings (Neth); 8 M van Steen (Neth); 9 M Erzen (Slov); 10 A Nadobenko (Kaz) all same time. Overall: 1 C Lillywhite (GB, Banana) 12:02:45; 2 Rendell +26sec; 3 K Marcussen (Den) +30; 4 B Smith (GB, Banana) +38; 5 I Simensen (Nor) +40; 6 A Mizourov (Kaz) +43; 7 van der Steen +45; 8 C Henry (Irl) +50; 9 M Stephens (GB Amateur) +1:01; 10 S Lowe (NZ) +1:07. Other British placings: 11 R Holden (Neilson-Tivoli) +1:11; 14 W Randle (Neilson-Tivoli) +1:22; 15 S Bray (Britannia) +1:24; 17 J Tanner (Neilson-Tivoli) +1:30; 26 Luckwell +2:39; 27 K Reynolds (Banana) +3:02. King of the Mountains: 1 Mizourov 32pts; 2 C Rajch (Pol) 30; 3 C Andersen (Den) 25. Sprints: 1 J Mickiewicz (Pol) 13; 2= Lillywhite and Smith 5. Points: 1 Hoej 33pts; 2 van der Steen 32; 3 H Vogels (Aus) 28. Stage team: 1 Britannia 10:35:02; 2 New Zealand +7sec; 3 Banana +42. Overall team: 1 Banana 35:52:54; 2 Denmark +9sec; 3 Norway +2:50.
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