Going Going Bike

Sep 162014
 

ToB_FL_2014_rgb_172x72 

The second half of this year’s Tour of Britain provided lots more top racing action, stunning scenery and a surprise overall winner.

Stage 5

Thursday saw Devon play host to the Tour by providing a tough fifth stage. Such was the lumpiness (definitely a real word) of the 177km stage it always looked likely to be a day for the breakaway, and this proved to be the case.

With the peloton in hot pursuit of the day’s break, Austrian rider Matthias Brandle waited for the opportune moment before attacking his fellow escapees on the final climb. He was not to be seen again as he raced away down the descent into Exeter to nab the stage win.

The main bunch rolled in 14 seconds later, meaning GGB’s man of the Tour ‘Scrabble’ (Michael Kwiatkowski) comfortably retained his yellow jersey.

Stage 6

Take a bow, Alex Dowsett. What looked set to be a fairly routine, transitional day turned out to be one of the best stages in recent Tour of Britain history on Friday.

Dowsett was joined in a breakaway by Tom Stewart and yesterday’s winner Matthias Brandle, who obviously hadn’t expended enough energy during his stage win in Exeter. The trio worked superbly well together to stay away for a whopping 160km to contest the stage win, despite a panic-ridden chase from the peloton.

Brandle, rather greedily, took the stage win for the second consecutive day. However it was Britain’s Alex Dowsett, who started the day 1 minute 25 seconds off the race lead, who managed to secure himself a magnificent yellow jersey.

Stage 7

After the ‘rumble on the Tumble’ in stage three, Saturday saw the ‘showdown on the South Downs’. While this might not have had quite the same ring to it, the stage itself lived up to its slightly cheesy billing. 

On what turned out to be another long, brutal stage from Camberley to Brighton, we saw the yellow jersey change hands for a sixth time. Poor old Alex Dowsett suffered on the climbs after his mammoth effort the day before.

Omega Pharma-Quickstep secured another stage win, remarkably none of them coming from Cav, as Julien Vermote took the spoils. However it was third placed rider Dylan Van Baarle of the Garmin Sharp team who took control of the yellow jersey.

Stage 8 a and b

So having waited all week for a London stage in this year’s Tour of Britain, two came along at once. There’s a joke about buses in there somewhere surely…

The day started in the morning (as is traditional for days) with a short, prologue style time trial in central London. Sir Wiggo, looking utterly resplendent in his national time trial champion jersey and matching bike, stormed round the course to set the fastest time of 9 minutes 50 seconds. This effort was enough to drag him up to third in the overall standings. Van Baarle finished 11th to retain his yellow jersey while ‘Scrabble’ clung on to second.

The second part of the day saw a quick ten lap circuit race which promised another Kittel v Cavendish sprint. That turned out to be the case as Kittel just, and only just, edged out Cav to take yet another stage win on British soil this summer. That guy clearly did not read the script. It was a suitably exciting end to what has been a magnificent Tour of Britain.

With the final stage being treated in a similar way to the Champs-Élysées stage in the Tour de France, Dylan Van Baarle’s lead was not contested as he wrapped up his overall win. 

 

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