The Irishman was part of the winning break that included Nordhaug and finished fifth in the sprint finish in Scarborough. The Norwegian holds a four second lead over Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) with two stages remaining but Team Sky almost saw their race fall apart when pre-race favourite Ben Swift crashed out during the stage.
“It was brutal out there today and was a lot harder than it looked on paper. We knew that from a few guys who had ridden recon that it was going to be hard so we took control pretty early on. It was all going to plan before we had little shower on a steep descent and couple of the guys came down,” Deignan told Cyclingnews as he warmed-down by the seafront.
“It worked out well in the end although it’s disappointing for Ben. We knew that there was a slight rise with around five kilometres to go and told Lars to see if he could get away. Through experience you know how to attack the guys from the back so we tried to go one after the other.”
Saturday’s stage between Selby and York favours the sprinters but Sunday’s final outing between Wakefield and Leeds is arguably the most demanding stage of the race with six categorised climbs. With a man down, in Swift, and such difficult terrain, Team Sky will need to be at their best to control affairs.
“Saturday should be pretty straight forward with a bunch sprint but Sunday should be pretty brutal but we have a strong team here and Lars is in great form. I don’t think we need to be afraid of anybody.”
Deignan, 31, is set to race at the Tour of California next month, although such a move will see him miss the Giro d’Italia, a race in which he performed admirably last season. The rest of his 2015 race programme has yet to be fully announced but the current situation could see him miss out on a grand tour. Last year he also competed in the Vuelta a Espana and helped Chris Froome challenge for top honours.
“I go to California. It’s a nice race and I’ve done it a few times in the past. We’re going there with Sergio Henao and Peter Kennaugh so it’s an important race for the team. It should be a bit warmer than here and I like that,” he said.
“At the moment the Vuelta isn’t in my programme. I have Suisse after California and then nationals and then probably a break.”
Deignan is also in the final year of his current deal with Team Sky, having joined them at the start of 2014. He added that any talks of contracts are not in the forefront of thoughts as he concentrates on racing.
“I’m not thinking about that at the moment. I’m just doing my job for the team, and racing. That’s further down the line.”