Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain was the queen stage and it didn’t disappoint. Glorious sunshine, glorious scenery and a glorious parcours was matched with glorious racing. Just glorious.
We also have five glorious diary entries for your delectation this evening. We hear from a disappointed Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling DS Colin Sturgess, a shattered Andy Turner from SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, a confident Matt Bostock itching for a sprint finish on stage 5, a double-act from Great Britain riders Bob Donaldson and Oli Stockwell, and a happy Rory Townsend, who says he had a lot of fun today.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) triumphed atop the Great Orme after out-sprinting – just - reigning world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep).
The pair finished on the same time, with Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) one second further back, while overnight leader Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers) slipped back to second place overall – just two seconds in arrears on van Aert – after finishing eight seconds behind. Just two seconds now separate him and Van Aert on GC.
The break of the day contained four of the six domestic teams (if you count Great Britain as the sixth), with the breakaway artist Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod), Bob Donaldson, home favourite Gruff Lewis (Ribble Wedltite Pro Cycling) and Ollie Peckover (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) joined by Nicolas Sessler (Global 6) and Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rural). Scott’s third breakaway in as many road stages meant he extended his lead in both the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints classifications.
As the race entered the Snowdonia National Park, yesterday’s diarist Tom Gloag and his TRINITY Racing teammate Ben Healy teamed up with Movistar’s Marc Soler for a foray of their own. They eventually joined the leading six but ultimately they were all swept up by the speeding peloton with around 50 kilometres to go. We saw Rory Townsend amongst others make a few digs to establish a new break but ultimately it all came down to the final, punishing climb up the Great Orme.
Max Stedman was the best-placed of the domestic team riders coming in 11th just 29 seconds back, while Mark Donovan (Team DSM) and 19-year-old Oli Stockwell (Great Britain) were the best under-23 riders in 14thand 15th respectively. James Shaw managed 22nd after a mechanical, as Colin Sturgess explains. Nonetheless, Shaw is up one place on GC to 14th and is the best-placed domestic rider overall. And a shout-out too for Tom Gloag, who came in just 1’14” down despite his breakaway efforts. He now lies 23rd overall.
Stage Five sees the peloton heading to Cheshire for a 152.2-kilometre outing that is widely predicted to be one for the sprinters.
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