CYCLING Alaphilippe's tour de force Bristol finish

OVO Energy Tour of Britian logoQuick-Step Floors’ Julian Alaphilippe issued a warning shot to his rivals by sprinting to victory at the end of a breathless third stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in Bristol on Tuesday.

The Frenchman, who won the King of the Mountains prize at this summer’s Tour de France, outsprinted Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing) and ONE Pro Cycling’s Emils Liepins to win a reduced bunch sprint on Ladies Mile, Clifton Down.

Kiwi Bevin moves into the OVO Energy Green Jersey, level on time with Stage Two winner Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT), with Alaphilippe just two seconds in arrears.

The Bristol Stage combined spectacular man-made wonders – a double crossing of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge – with the local area’s best natural features as the race wound its way through Cheddar Gorge and across the Mendip Hills.

An energetic start to proceedings had seen a break struggle to stick, and when it eventually did it contained a former winner in Bristol - Tony Martin (Team KATUSHA ALEPCIN) - as well as Frenchman Angelo Tulik (Direct Energie) and British pairing Ben Swift (Great Britain) and Jon Mould (JLT Condor).

Their advantage never went far above the minute margin, and their hopes were finally extinguished on the fast run to the day’s final SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Providence Lane on the outskirts of Bristol.

An initial attack from Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) sparked off a charge up the steep slopes, with British youngster Tom Pidcock (Team WIGGINS) leading the much-reduced peloton over the top.

BMC Racing then hit the front, leading the charge up the unclassified Rownham Hill climb to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, with Bevin’s overall challenge at the forefront of their minds.

Coming onto the long, 900-metre finish straight Quick-Step Floors’ Bob Jungels took over from BMC, lifting the pace and setting up perfectly for Alaphilippe, who headed home Bevin and the fast-finishing Emils Liepins, with Great Britain youngster Ethan Hayter a highly creditable fourth.

Overnight leader Alessandro Tonelli finished 43rd, losing almost a minute to relinquish the OVO Energy Green Jersey, slipping to 25th overall.

Alaphilippe also took over the Wahoo Points Jersey following Stage Three, while the Eisberg Sprints and SKODA King of the Mountains jerseys remain with Matthew Teggart (Team WIGGINS) and Scott Davies (Team Dimension Data) respectively.

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