In today's episode we review stage 4 of the Tour of Britain, a stage every bit as full-on as us fans had been hoping for.
The short punchy stage from Redcar to Duncombe Park was full gas from start to finish, with barely a pause for breath for riders or spectators. Colin Sturgess, Josh Charlton, Ben Perry, Oscar Onley and Steve Lampier all give us their views of how it went in a fascinating set of diary entries.
As expected, it took a long time for any kind of break to form, with seemingly every team in the race keen to be represented. WiV SunGod performed admirably in defending Ben Perry’s lead in these opening 40 to 50 kilometres, closing down as many moves as they could while every man and his dog tried to get up the road.
Eventually, Magnus Sheffield of Ineos Grenadiers and Harry Birchill of Saint Piran punched clear, stretching out a lead of up to a minute. As the peloton hit the first major climb of the day at Robin Hood’s Bay, however, Tom Pidcock put in a stinging attack, taking a select group of riders with him. The race reformed on the false flat over the top, but it was a sign of things to come.
Ahead of the next categorised climb of Egton Bank, the Uno-X team swarmed to the front of the bunch and set a searing pace that blew the race to pieces as they hit the climb. Around 18 riders survived over the top, including race leader Ben Perry and our audio diarist Oscar Onley (Team DSM), and for a while, it looked like this group might go all the way to the finish line.
The group wasn’t cohesive enough, however, and were eventually joined by a chasing group to swell the front of the race to around 40 riders.
As this lead group hit Carlton Bank – the hardest climb of the day under 30 kilometres from the finish – Pidcock once again attacked. Only Dylan Teuns (Israel – Premier Tech) and Onley could stay with him, and they quickly set about putting time into their chasers.
It took a while for the chase to organise itself, but efforts from the Movistar team, Ollie Rees of TRINITY Racing and Jake Stewart (Great Britain), amongst others, eventually reeled the trio back.
The final climb of the day with 8.4 kilometres remaining was Newgate Bank, and this proved decisive. Pidcock was once again a protagonist, moving clear with his teammate Omar Fraille, Teuns again, and Movistar’s Gonzalo Serrano. They stayed clear as they hit the finish in Duncombe Park, with Serrano edging Pidcock in the sprint.
Serrano’s win moved him into the AJ Bell leader’s jersey, with Pidcock, Fraile and Perry trailing by seven seconds.
WiV SunGod’s Matthew Teggart retained the Sportsbreaks.com sprints jersey, while Mathijs Paasschen’s (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) is the new leader of the ŠKODA King of the Mountains jersey, level on points with erstwhile leader Jacob Scott (WiV SunGod).
Stage 5 is the only stage of the race with under 2000 metres of climbing, so is probably the peloton’s best bet for a blanket finish. Running from West Bridgford to Mansfield the stage is 186.8 kilometres long.
Show sponsored by HUNT Bike Wheels.