Team Sky rider Mark Cavendish was victorious in a sprint finish on the fourth stage of the Tour of Great Britain in Blackpool on Wednesday, as he claimed the overall leader’s gold jersey.
Having already won Tuesday’s third stage from Jedburgh to Dumfries, the defending world road-race champion started the day level with Australia’s Leigh Howard of Orica-GreenEdge atop the standings.
Cavendish was part of the peloton that eventually closed down a small breakaway group towards the end of the 156km ride and, after being led out by Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Luke Rowe, the Manxman crossed the line under the city’s iconic tower just in front of Australia’s Garmin rider Steele Van Hoff.
The time bonus for winning the stage allowed Cavendish to open up a 6-second lead over Howard in the general classification.
Following his victory, Cavendish hailed Wiggins, whose knowledge of the local area played a vital role in the team’s success in windy conditions.
“It was the perfect call,” Cavendish said.
Rowe and Boy van Poppel of the Netherlands are both 14 seconds off the pace heading into yesterday’s fifth stage, a 147km ride around Stoke-on-Trent.
The eight-stage race finishes in Guildford, Surrey, on Sunday.