Magnus Cort (Astana Pro Team) took victory on the hilltop finish at the famous Calf and Cow. Greg Van Avaermaet (BMC Racing) finished second with Eduard Prades Reverter (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias) third. Serge Pauwels finished 4th for Team Dimension Data.
The 149kms from Barnsley to Ilkley featured a hilltop finish on renowned Cow and Calf hill today. Once racing started, attacks were thick and fast, but the peloton were watchful about who made it into the break. A strong group of six riders made the initial escape, but thanks to some hard work at the front of the peloton by Jay Thomson, they were brought back.
A new break of four was then established, with 86km of racing left. The peloton ensured that they were reeled in just before the climb at Old Pool Bank, which fractured the regrouped peloton. The reduced peloton arrived at the bottom of the Cow and Calf hill with Serge Pauwels well positioned for us. Serge Pauwels put in an attack for us a few 100 meters from the finish, sensing the danger that Greg van Avaermaet would pose in a sprint. Kort (Astana) attacked from a fair distance and went on to win the stage followed by Van Avaermaet (BMC Racing) and Reverter (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias). Serge Pauwels took a hard-fought fourth for us.
Serge Pauwels- Rider
I was well positioned at the bottom, exactly where I wanted to be. It was a really, really fast run-in as expected, but we were really quickly at the last km to go. I was expecting the climb to be a little bit steeper. I did it back in 2007 at the Tour of Britain, but it was a long time ago, so I don’t remember everything very well. I was on the wheel of Van Avaermaet which was pretty good. With 300 or 400 meters to go, there was a bit of a steeper ramp and I tired to go from far, because I knew if I waited and Greg started a sprint I would have been beaten anyway. It was probably just a little too early, which is easy to say afterward. I did what I could and I am very thankful to the guys who worked for me and kept everything together at the beginning of the race.