Cycling: Veteran Anderson celebrates a stage revival: Australian comes into his own to lay foundation stone in Kellogg's Tour of Britain

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The Independent Online
THIRTEEN years ago Phil Anderson became the first Australian to wear the yellow jersey of race leader in the Tour de France, and yesterday, on the first day of the Kellogg's Tour of Britain, still proved that at a veteran age he has the winning touch.

Two years ago he won the yellow jersey in this race by one second, and in Bath yesterday laid firmer foundations for another term. 'Win this Tour again? I'm just happy to win a stage for now,' Anderson said after shaking off a determined Italian, Wladimir Belli, in an uphill finish to the 105.3 miles from Portsmouth.

He and Belli finished with the same time, but the time deductions awarded to the first three home gave Anderson an overall lead of four seconds. In 1991 he clung to a single-second advantage throughout the five-day race.

Yesterday's winning move came on Brassknocker Hill. The Norwegian Bo-Andre Namtvedt did the knocking and Anderson slammed the door on Belli, Namvedt and two others five miles further on to win.

Namtvedt was also the key to an earlier escape of 13 riders. He won an intermediate sprint in Devizes and the momentum drew the group clear to a surprising lead of seven and a half minutes approaching Brassknocker Hill and which eventually topped a remarkable 10 minutes at the finish. 'This kind of lead often develops on the first day of a race like this, ' Anderson said. 'It was what I was looking for.'

When Namtvedt struck for the second time, Anderson was ready as he had been in the Tour of Sweden in June. Then his Motorola team filled the first four places on the toughest stage, which Anderson won to take a lead he kept until the finish.

His role otherwise this season has been to support team-mates during the Tour de France and he was the strength behind the American Lance Armstrong's stage win in his first Tour. 'I had a job to do this year,' Anderson said. 'I have been helping others. Now it is my turn again.'

Anderson, born in North London 33 years ago and still a British passport holder, was the nearest the host nation came to success yesterday. Chris Lillywhite, British winner of the Milk race, spent 71 miles in the lead to earn six seconds worth of deductions from his race time by winning two intermediate sprints and the lead in the sprints competition.

KELLOGG'S TOUR OF BRITAIN First stage (105.3 miles, Portsmouth to Bath): 1 P Anderson (Aus) Motorola 4hr 33min 01sec; 2 W Belli (It) Lampre- Polti same time; 3 B Namtvedt (Nor) Subaru +2sec; 4 H Imboden (Swit) Mecair s/t; 5 F Lemarchand (Fr) Gan +5sec; 6 J Svorada (Cz Rep) Lampre-Polti +14; 7 H Frison (Bel) Lotto; 8 F Andreu (US) Motorola; 9 P Van Roosbroeck (Bel) La William-Duvel; 10 E Schurer (Neth) TVM all s/t. GB placings: 17 K Reynolds (Banana) +10min 03sec; 20 M Walsham (Banana); 21 S Way (GB Professionals); 22 C Lillywhite (Banana); 29 S Douce (GB Professionals); 33 B Burns (GB Professionals); 35 S Wingrave (Neilson-Tivoli); 45 J Tanner (Neilson-Tivoli); 46 B Luckwell (GB Professionals); 51 S Yates (Motorola); 56 N Perry (GB Professionals); 61 A Doyle (Neilson-Tivoli); 63 W Randle (Neilson-Tivoli); 68 H Lodge (Collstrop); 74 N Hoban (Neilson-Tivoli); 81 C Young (GB Professionals); 84 B Smith (Banana); 85 R Holden (Neilson-Tivoli) all s/t; 86 T Harris (GB Professionals) +14:02. Overall (with bonuses): 1 Anderson 4:32:51; 2 Belli +4sec; 3 Namtvedt +8; 4 Imboden +12; 5 Lemarchand +15; 6 Svorada +24; 7 Frison; 8 Andreu; 9 Van Roosbroek; 10 Schurer all s/t. Stage team: Lampre-Polti 13:49:20. Overall team: Motorola 13:49:10. Mountains: 1 Namtvedt 10pts. Sprints: Lillywhite 10. Points: Anderson 15.

(Photograph and maps omitted)