Patrick Bevin has extended his lead at the Tour of Britain after a bold late raid on stage four this morning.

Bevin has picked up an impressive third place in the sprint finish won by Andre Greipel, flying up the inside of the final corner with 400 metres to go in an audacious attempt at the stage victory.

It was always likely to be a long shot with the power of Greipel looming behind, and although Bevin was hunted down, his endeavour was enough to hold on to third, and take the four bonus seconds which came with it.

Bevin also takes the points jersey after another somewhat chaotic bunch sprint saw big favourites Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria both missing in action, and the 27-year-old's third consecutive top-three finish now sees him lead Cameron Meyer by four seconds in the general classification, with stage three winner Julian Alaphilippe six seconds back in third.


Four seconds may seem a minimal amount, but they could prove crucial after tomorrow morning's team time trial, in which Bevin's BMC squad are one of the favourites for victory. The 14 kilometre effort will be tricky - going largely uphill with a difficult finish which may indeed favour the likes of Team Sky, but in what will be such a tight battle for the overall title, every second counts as Bevin tries to keep the leader's green jersey.

Bevin wasn't the only New Zealand rider in the thick of the action this morning, with Hayden McCormick - seeking a professional contract after his One Pro Cycling team announced its dissolution at the end of the season - being the last member of the breakaway to be swept up, hanging on until 3.4 kilometres to go.

Dion Smith also crossed the line in the leading group, to sit in 14th overall, 50 seconds down, though his Wanty-Groupe Gobert team are likely to lose time in the team time trial tomorrow.

* In the Vuelta a Espana, George Bennett avoided a brief scare on a frenetic stage 11. Bennett and his Lotto NL-Jumbo teammate Steven Kruijswijk found themselves briefly out of position, after attacks were launched from the main group with four kilometres to go. As rain briefly pelted down on the final (uncategorised) climb, Bennett was forced to quickly scramble to get back across to the main group of favourites, with just under 20 riders forming a select group which eventually rode through to the finish line behind the remnants of the breakaway.

Bennett eventually crossed the line in 20th, 2.02 down on stage winner Alessandro De Marchi. Most of Bennett's rivals finished alongside him, with Thibaut Pinot gaining a mere 12 seconds despite making the breakaway, Emanuel Buchmann losing eight seconds, and second-tier contender Fabio Aru losing his slim podium hopes after conceding 41 seconds on the main contenders.

Bennett remains in 10th, 47 seconds down, ahead of another hilly stage tomorrow which, while unlikely to shake up the general classification, will once again require all the contenders to be on their toes.