A searingly fast finish from Michal Kwiatkowski saw him become the fourth Friends Life Yellow Jersey of the 2014 race, as the Pole won the Worcester to Bristol leg of the race.
The Omega Pharma Quick-Step rider took an imperious stage win on the Clifton Downs with a victory that seemingly makes him the man to beat for the overall title at the 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain.
Starting the day in second place in the Friends Life General Classification, 13 seconds behind Tumble winner Edoardo Zardini, Kwiatkowski appeared on the start line at Worcester in his speedline skin suit. He wanted the stage win and he wanted the ten second time bonus even though it was by no means certain how the testing 185km run from Worcester through Worcestershire and Gloucestershire was going to play out.
For a long while it appeared that the remnants of an eight man break might stay away and mop up the bonus seconds but as the peloton gathered pace down the wide open Portway along the Avon Gorge and swung onto the SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Bridge Valley Road they quickly cut into the two minute advantage which had set the GC riders on red alert.
Jack Bauer and Albert Timmer though were alert to the threat and attacked hard up the short but fierce Category 2 climb up and for a long while looked set to take the honours in Bristol. Only Nicolas Roche and eventually Kwiatkowski started to chase but with just 250 metres to go it still seemed possible that Bauer, the New Zealander and Timmer, from the Netherlands, might stay away but fatally the slowed little to consider their finishing options.
Kwiatkowski, 24, was already travelling at extreme pace around a sweeping right hand bend – it is just possible the leading duo didn’t see him – and as he shot by it suddenly seemed like everybody else was back pedalling. Timmer hung on for second, and the day’s Rouleur Combativity Award, while a fast finishing Dylan Teuns nipped in for third place in front of a tiring Bauer, moving him up to third overall.