Cycling / Tour of Britain: Sciandri in top gear

Click to follow
The Independent Online
MAX SCIANDRI, the race leader, chose his gears for the big day on the Kellogg's Tour of Britain as Nick Faldo selects a club for the next shot.

After the final North Yorkshire Moors climb, the eye-watering Rosedale Chimney, the Italian coolly swapped his back wheel and its low gearing for a wheel geared to his speciality, high-speed sprinting. Before he completed yesterday's 166 km (103 miles) course between Middlesbrough and Hull there were a couple of scares, but Sciandri managed to increase his lead to five seconds over the Dutchman, Jos van Aert.

When Sciandri had a puncture, Phil Anderson, his Australian team-mate, was there to help him back to the main field.

But later when Anderson was preparing to pace Sciandri into a good position for the final sprint, the Italian was having a hard time.

'I thought Max was on my back wheel,' Anderson said after the Tashkent 'mouthful' Djamolidine Abdoujaparov had proved a handful for his fellow sprinters.

Abdou snatched his seventh win ahead of his Tour de France rivals, Johan Museeuw (Belgium) and Olaf Ludwig (Germany), with Derby-born Sciandri a thankful fourth. 'Brian Holm was cutting me up all over the place, and before the last corner I lost my position at Phil's back wheel,' Sciandri said.

He missed out on the 'bonuses', the time deductions given to the first three, but he earned two seconds for his placing in an intermediate sprint at Beverley.

Holm's tactics were aimed at helping his Dutch team-mate, Adri van der Poel, who is only nine seconds away from donning the race leader's yellow jersey.

As an avid golfer Greg LeMond would have appreciated Sciandri's change of 'iron'. However the American had quit the race before yesterday's Middlesbrough start after a sleepless night, complaining of stomach trouble.

Roger Legeay, the boss of his French-sponsored 'Z' team, arrives today, and a decision should be forthcoming on LeMond's possible appearance in Sunday's Wincanton Classic World Cup race in Leeds.

The British rider Dave Mann was hopeful that their attack might succeed until their motorcycle escort went straight on, and a marshal shouted 'left', and pointed to the right. 'Half of us went right and the rest to the left. I collided with another rider,' Mann said.

The Irish racer, Martin Earley, rode in a daze for several miles after hitting his head on a rock when he was forced off the road.

KELLOGG'S TOUR OF BRITAIN Stage Three, Middlesbrough to Hull, 166km (103 miles): 1 D Abdoujaparov (Carrera, CIS) 4:36:41; 2 J Museeuw (Lotto, Belg); 3 O Ludwig (Panasonic, Ger); 4 M Sciandri (Motorola, It); 5 P Anderson (Motorola, Aus); 6 A van der Poel (Tulip, Neth) all same time. Selected: 16 C Walker (Subaru, GB); 44 S Yates (Motorola, GB); 51 R Millar (TVM, GB); 73 J van Aert (PDM, Neth) all same time. Overall: 1 Sciandri 12:16:40; 2 Van Aert +5sec; 3 Van der Poel +9sec; 4 H Redant (Lotto, Belg) +10sec; 5 Museeuw +14sec; 6 Ludwig s/t. Selected: 7 Anderson +19sec; 18 Yates +24sec; 21 Millar s/t.

(Maps omitted)