Marianne Vos took her long threatened stage victory in the Friends Life Women’s Tour, sprinting to the win in Clacton to move into the race leader’s yellow jersey after three days of action.

Vos headed home Emma Johansson and Giorgia Bronzini on the gently rising finish straight on Clacton’s seafront at the end of an action packed stage, run off in a little over two-hours in blustery conditions on the Suffolk and Essex coasts.

Despite a flat tyre Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead took fourth in the sprint to stay in the hunt for overall victory.

As a result of victory, Vos trades the YodelDirect Points jersey for the Friends Life Yellow Jersey of race leader, taking a eight second lead over Stage One winner Johansson, with overnight leader Rossella Ratto a further second back in third.

Vos continues to also lead the YodelDirect Points classification after her consistent run of second-third-first finishes, with Armitstead retaining the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Best British Rider jersey and staying fifth overall.

Ratto’s consolation for losing the race lead is retaining the Matrix Fitness Best Young Rider jersey, while Sharon Laws retains the Strava Queen of the Mountains jersey, with a three point lead over Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff.

Numerous attacks throughout the stage, including one by Armitstead and Boels Dolmans straight from 0-kilometre and one that featured Armitstead, Johansson and Vos, were kept on a tight leash, resulting in frantic action.

Combined with strong winds this left several groups distanced from the rear of the race, but plenty of action at the front.  Specialized Lululemon’s Trixi Worrack earned the day’s combativity award for her persistent attacking, with teammate Tiffany Cromwell’s last ditch attempt caught at the flame rouge as the peloton prepared for the bunch gallop.

Saturday sees Hertfordshire host the Friends Life Women’s Tour for Stage Four from Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City.

Highlights of Stage Three are on ITV4 in the UK at 9pm this evening, with a repeat on Saturday morning at

For full results click here.