Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins moved into the leader’s jersey at the 2013 Tour of Britain after winning the stage three time trial in Knowsley.
Briton Wiggins, winner of the 2012 Tour de France, completed the 16-kilometre course in 19 minutes and 54 seconds, 32 seconds ahead of teammate Ian Stannard and 42 seconds clear of Garmin Sharp rider Jack Bauer in third.
The victory puts Wiggins 37 seconds clear of Stannard in the general classification with five stages remaining.
“It was obvious [how much I wanted it],” said Wiggins
“The commitment in those roundabouts in the rain. Even from the start – crashing yesterday and not even flinching – and getting back in is not like me.
“Admittedly it’s not been a great season up to now for one reason or another. From the minute I wasn’t riding the Tour I’ve been training locally right through July. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been around this course. I live 20km from here and it was always on my mind – the Tour of Britain and this time trial.
"It was great just to get out there in front of everybody and to do a performance like that after the last two days.
"I’m not a great climber like Dan Martin or Quintana and these guys so [I need] to do a time trial and to get as much as possible and perhaps gain in areas where guys won’t pay as much attention especially when it’s raining, I had to take very second I could really.”
With the weather conditions steadily improving over Merseyside the roads got progressively drier for the later starters, although Wiggins was the only man to dip below the 20-minute mark.
One of the standout performers in Monday's stage Sam Bennett had been the early pace setter, taking over from Anthony Delaplace at the top of the time sheets. Britain's Owain Doull then topped him before 2013 Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains Stefano Pirazzi went quicker.
Garmin Sharp's Bauer then led the way until the Sky duo of Stannard and then Wiggins went quicker.
1. Sir Bradley Wiggins Sky Procycling 19' 54''
2. Ian Stannard Sky Procycling 20' 30''
3. Jack Bauer Garmin Sharp 20' 36''
4. Martin Elmiger IAM Cycling 20' 48''
5. Alex Dowsett Movistar 20' 50''
6. David Lopez Garcia Sky Procycling 21' 10''
7. Alex Wetterhall Team NetApp Endura 21' 14''
8. Stefano Pirazzi Bardiani Valvole CSF Inox 21' 16''
9. Sergio Pardilla MTN Qhubeka 21' 19''
10. Mark Cavendish Omega Pharma Quick-Step 21' 20''