Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to victory at the end of Stage Four of the Tour of Britain on the Royal Welsh Showground, heading home British duo Dan McLay and Ben Swift, at the end of the 218-kilometre stage through Mid-Wales from Denbigh.
The Dutch National Champion was afforded the perfect leadout by LottoNL Jumbo teammate Tom Leezer onto the showground, and held off McLay over the final 200-metres from the last corner.
Behind Swift’s third place on the stage and resulting time bonus helped him move up to third overall, while Julien Vermote, the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg came home fifth to retain his race lead for a third day.
I won in Yorkshire and I’ve won here too.
Today was a very hard stage with all the climbs, and it was very long, so I knew there was only a small chance I could fight for it. But the team was very strong and I started to think I could do it. It was a very hard final but the team worked very hard and I had four guys for me, so it was a perfect team performance.Dylan Groenewegen
It had in fact been the other Lotto team in the Tour of Britain, Lotto Soudal who had worked had to set up the sprint over the final 15-kilometre run through Powys, but they were usurped for pole position on the left hand turn into the Showground by their Dutch compatriots.
Four riders had spent the stage up the road, including Bardiani CSF’s Alessandro Tonelli as the longest surviving, and winner of the HIGH5 Combativity Award for Stage Four.
The quartet were eventually swept off when the General Classification contenders vying for the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg began to battle, with Dan Martin, Wout Poels and the teams of Movistar and Cannondale Drapac all active.
This flurry of attacks split the field, ditching sprinters like Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani, and briefly Andre Greipel, although the German national champion got back across to the leaders.
All images ©Sweetspot & Theo Southee photography
No great advantage was ever established with some of the dropped riders able to rejoin as the race hit Rhayader and the main roads leading to Builth Wells the General Classification battle was over, barring a hotly contest intermediate Yodel Sprint in Newbridge-on-Wye with less than 20-kilometres remaining.
That Yodel Sprint saw Tony Gallopin taking the points, and more importantly the time bonuses, which elevated him into fourth overall behind Swift, but now ahead of Dan Martin.
Thanks to the win at the day’s opening Yodel Sprint in Mold, Jasper Bovenhuis retook the Yodel Sprints Jersey while the battle between Xandro Meurisse and Nicolas Roche for the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey continued apace.
The Belgian has now eked out a two-point lead over the Irish Champion and wears the jersey for a third day on Stage Five.
Julien Vermote continues in the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg and also inherits the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, while second overall Steve Cummings continues as the Adnams Best British Rider in the Tour of Britain.
Highlights of Stage Four from Denbigh to Builth Wells are on ITV4 at 8pm with a repeat on the same channel at Midday on Thursday 8 September and available on demand via the ITV Hub.
The Tour of Britain remains in Wales for the Start of Stage Five in Aberdare Park in Rhondda Cynon Taf, which then crosses South Wales and the Forest of Dean for the finish on the Royal Avenue in Bath.