Nick Nuyens secured victory in the 2005 Tour of Britain but the Great Britain team were left to rue a fall on the penultimate lap which cost Mark Cavendish a chance to win the final stage.

Belgian Nuyens, who took the yellow jersey with victory on the first stage between Glasgow and Castle Douglas, was again well protected by his Quick Step team as the peloton spun through 45 laps of a one-mile circuit taking in Whitehall and Embankment in London.

But there was disappointment for Cavendish who had been confident he could challenge for the stage win.

The Madison world champion's optimism appeared well founded as he lurked on the wheel of points leader Luca Paolini in the closing stages with all five of his team-mates well placed in the bunch.

But the 20-year-old hit the Tarmac when the Barloworld rider Alfred Green clipped his wheels as he drifted back through the peloton and Paolini took the line under little pressure.

"Every one of my riders was up there, Roger ( Hammond) was securely up there and I was on Paolini's wheel," said Cavendish, who felt Green had been careless.

"I know it would have been me and Paolini today but a lack of professionalism by another rider has cost me."

Hammond consoled his younger team-mate and tried to reassure him he would have other chances.

"I felt sorry for him, he was really up for it," said the 31-year-old.

"I just said 'It happens to the best of us.' But he's lucky - he's got time on his side.

"He was stressed as hell. We'd talked about all the ways we were going to do it and we were all up there.

"It happened so fast I wasn't sure it was him that had come down."

It was another excellent day for Quick Step who have been rewarded for sending a strong team to the six-day race with Nuyens and Paolini winning two stages each as well as the yellow and green points jerseys.

Nuyens, 25, was relieved to make it across the line in one piece and with the yellow jersey still on his back on a day when the peloton was travelling at 25mph on a narrow course.

"There were some pretty dangerous rides for the sprints," he said. "Some guys were taking risks and that might have been dangerous for me."

The Belgian is a worthy winner after defending a lead of never more than eight seconds over the Danish Team CSC rider Michael Blaudzun.

His victory in Saturday's time-trial in Birmingham needed nerve as well as good legs and he has benefited from having a strong and disciplined team to help him.

Paolini said: "It's been a great race for Quick Step. Me and Nick are going very well at the moment and we like riding together. The team rode well today."

Nuyens had won his second stage of the week and his first time-trial as a professional around Birmingham.

He completed the corkscrew four-kilometre course around Broad Street and the NIA in four minutes 54.06 seconds, 0.75secs quicker than the next best Kurt-Asle Arvesen with Blaudzun placed third, 1.21secs off the pace.

Sutton Coldfield-born Paul Manning of was the best Briton with his second fourth place in 24 hours.

"I got a fantastic reception and that gave me a real buzz," said Olympic medallist Manning. " It probably spurred me on a little bit because I didn't really expect to be quicker than five minutes.

"I don't get home often enough but it was great to see some friendly faces."

There were again large crowds to watch the re-born Tour which returned last year after a five- year absence. But the stage did not run completely smoothly with the organisers, at the request of the city council, opening the course midway through the time-trial to relieve traffic congestion.

Ensuring the course was then clear of traffic - " sterile" - then became a problem, delaying the start times for some riders which then caused problems with their warm-up procedures.

Great Britain manager John Herety said: "The organisers have done a fantastic job all week given the volume of traffic we have in this country but the UCI ( International Cycling Union) have certain standards and at the moment they aren't meeting them."