The final act through the Peak District and the Pennines did not lack drama. With almost a touch of Macbeth, Robert Millar made a stab at upsetting Sciandri's dream.
The Scotsman stole away on the crowded and daunting slopes of Holme Moss, possibly inspired by blankets of purple heather, but more likely by the potential rustle of banknotes. It was a brave effort that withered on the finishing circuit in Leeds as the Scot was reeled in like a Tay salmon 13 kilometres from the finish.
Millar, whose great days came in 1984 when he won the mountains jersey in the Tour de France, was clocked at 70kph (43.5mph) as he put one minute and 59 seconds between himself and the main field.
That made him the race leader 'on the road', but Sciandri's Motorola team coolly maintained a steady pace as Millar held out for 58km.
'It was the most nervous day of my life, even more than my first professional race,' Sciandri said. 'I felt great, but there was a lot of stress. My neck is so stiff with the tension it's killing me.'
'I have always wanted to win in England,' Sciandri added after emerging from a scrum of Italian cousins, who were planning a party last night and have rented a house in Leeds for the weekend.
'There is a lot more racing to come, so I cannot celebrate too much,' Sciandri said. He is booked to contest tomorrow's World Cup race, the Wincanton Classic, which is bringing more top cycling names to Yorkshire.
The race will start and finish in The Headrow where yesterday the Belgian Hendrik Redant snatched his second stage win of the 852- km Kellogg's Tour which began in Dundee on Monday.
The Classic, too, tackles the 4.5km of Holme Moss twice, but fortunately for many it does not climb Riber Wall.
Compared with the long drags of Holme Moss and Snake Pass it was a short, sharp shock yesterday, especially to the race controller's car and two motorcycles carrying Channel 4 cameramen. All three were stranded with burnt- out clutches, but only six of the 88 starters failed to reach Leeds.
Tomorrow's 237-km test has the German Olaf Ludwig defending his 26-point lead in the World Cup, but it does not have Greg LeMond. His French team director, Roger Legeay, arrived in England yesterday to announce that the three-times winner of the Tour de France would be otherwise engaged competing in a Belgian circuit race.
Still, there is Claudio Chiappucci, who has twice won the Tour de France mountains jersey for Italy, and should relish the tough terrain. Stand by with the pizzas.
The Olympic champion, Chris Boardman, on a conventional machine rather than the Lotus monocoque which won him a gold medal in Barcelona, was in imperious form on his return to serious British track action in the national championships at Leicester last night. He cruised through the qualifying stage of the 4,000 metres pursuit in 4min 41.439sec. He races again today and tomorrow.
KELLOGG'S TOUR OF BRITAIN Stage five (Nottingham to Leeds, 176km): 1 H Redant (Lotto, Bel) 4hr 54min 38sec; 2 O Ludwig (Panasonic, Ger); 3 A van der Poel (Tulip, Neth); 4 J Museeuw (Lotto, Bel); 5 M Sciandri (Motorola, It); 6 F Baldato (GB MG, It) all same time. Selected: 8 J Clay (Banana-Met, GB); 29 S Yates (Motorola, GB); 45 P Anderson (Motorola, Aus); 47 R Millar (TVM, GB) all same time as the winner. Final overall positions (852km): 1 Sciandri 22:23:03; 2 Van der Poel +6sec; 3 Redant +8; 4 J van Aert (PDM, Neth) +16; 5 Ludwig +19; 6 Museeuw +20. Selected: 7 M Earley (PDM, Irl) +22; 9 Millar +29; 10 Anderson +30; 20 Yates +35. Points: 1 Sciandri 59pts; 2 Van der Poel 58; 3 Museeuw 56. Mountains: 1 C Zamana (Subaru, Pol) 63pts; 2 Anderson 43; 3 B Smith (Banana-Met, GB) 38. Sprints: 1 Sciandri 24pts; 2= Anderson, 3 Van der Poel 13. Team: 1 PDM 67:10:31; 2 Tulip +11sec; 3 Motorola same time.Reuse content