Edvald Boasson Hagen clinches second Aviva Tour of Britain title

All images ©CyclingShorts.cc / wwwchrismaher.co.uk

Edvald Boasson Hagen of MTN Qhubeka became the first rider to win the modern Aviva Tour of Britain twice when he successfully defended his 13 second lead on the final stage, an 86.8km circuit race around some of central London’s iconic landmarks.

The Norwegian sprinted to fifth on the stage, which was upgraded to fourth when Andre Greipel was relegated for impeding Elia Viviani in the final sprint up Regent Street St James, handing the Italian his third stage win of the week.

Viviani’s victories in Wrexham, Floors Castle and now London also mean he is only the fifth rider to win three stages in one edition of the race, and joins Mark Cavendish as one of only two riders to win Tour of Britain stages in England, Scotland and Wales.

Speaking afterwards he said “After yesterday I saw I had good speed in the legs after a really hard week, so we thought we could win today. 

“(Ben) Swifty and Andy (Fenn) put me in a perfect position for the last corner. We saw the road go up and I knew we couldn’t start the sprint too early. When I saw Greipel go I went directly on his left-hand side. He came across a little bit, a little bit and that edged me towards the barriers. I’m disappointed because it is better to win without this. He is a big champion and I’ve never seen him do this before. But we won in London and that is the main thing.”

“This week has been really good with lots of stages over 200 kilometres,” he added. “It has given me a very good base for the worlds and I am really confident. I think the Tour of Britain is the perfect roads for the worlds this year.”

After the stage Greipel insisted the incident was accidental: “I didn’t see Viviani coming. I was just concentrating on my sprint and suddenly he was next to me. The final straight wasn’t that wide, I had to look for space to overtake. Everybody was on the limit on the final corner. I didn’t do anything for purpose that’s for sure. That’s sprinting.” 

Boasson Hagen’s fourth place on the day was more than enough to see him win the Aviva Yellow Jersey outright thirteen seconds ahead of Team Sky’s Wout Poels with young British rider Owain Doull capping an outstanding week’s work by moving up to third place overall thanks to a time bonus, the best result of his road career to date.

Doull also claimed the Chain Reaction Cycles Points jersey, having finished in the top ten on all but one stage (the finish at Hartside where he came 11th) and the Premier Inn Best British Rider award.

Boasson Hagen, who won three stages in 2008 and four in 2009, didn’t take a stage victory in 2015, but arguably his overall victory was all the more impressive, having to fight off a determined effort from Team Sky, working for the in-form Poels.

“I am very happy with that win,” said Boasson Hagen who joined MTN Qhubeka at the start of this season from Team Sky. “The object today was simply to defend the jersey and my team did a great job all day. Team WIGGINS took it out very fast at the start looking for the intermediate Sprint and seconds for their rider and it was very hard but then the race settled down a little. I always like to race to win. I had my chances with Sky but perhaps I get more chances with MTN Qhubeka. I think perhaps this year it was harder to win the GC than back in 2009, the course was tougher and Sky were very strong.”

Boasson Hagen now goes onto the World Championships in Richmond, Virginia where he will be riding primarily for Alexander Kristoff although on this form he clearly represents a viable Plan B. Both Greipel and Viviani have also expressed their hopes of taking the title and it could yet be that the Aviva Tour of Britain again acts as ideal build up for the eventual champion, as it did last year with Michel Kwiatkowski.

With a new look circuit hosting 14-laps of racing, the early interest in the final stage centred mainly on Team WIGGINS trying to secure two vital seconds for Doull to move him from fourth place onto the podium in third ahead of Rasmus Guldhammer of Cult Energy Pro Cycling.

For a team consisting of Great Britain’s best team pursuiters that was a pleasing scenario and provided a fine spectacle for a large crowd as Team WIGGINS went to the front half way around the first lap and bossed the race for the first three laps right up to the first intermediate YodelDirect Sprint.

A huge turn on lap three from Sir Bradley Wiggins set Doull up nicely although Russ Downing, riding for Cult Energy did manage to infiltrate the Team WIGGINS train and take the line honours to deny Doull the full three seconds. Doull, however, comfortably collected two seconds for second place to move into third on the road, a position he was able to defend.

After the first sprint an eight man break went up the road which meant Cult had to chase in an attempt to get Guldhammer into the second YodelDirect Sprint. Ultimately it was in vain with the peloton unable to get on terms in time, last year’s overall winner Dylan van Baarle taking both the second and third YodelDirect Sprints, on his way to finishing eighth overall.

Elsewhere Peter Williams of ONE Pro Cycling completed an excellent week’s riding – both individually and in the team context – by taking both the SKODA King of the Mountains title and YodelDirect Sprint jersey, only the third time that feat has ever been achieved in Aviva Tour of Britain history

Williams, from Southport, had cinched the Skoda King of the Mountains title on Saturday when he took maximum points on the final climb of the day up Brantham Hill in Suffolk and started today’s stage seven points up from Conor Dunne in the YodelDirect Sprints classification. With neither rider contesting the first sprint of the day Williams’ lead became unassailable and the celebrations could start.

“It’s a massive achievement for ONE Pro Cycling. This time last year it was just a few conversations and the ball had just started to role so it was a really new team. To come away with two leaders’ jerseys on our Tour debut is a brilliant achievement.

“I feel like I’ve been in good form all year, the setup is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before and it helps get the best out of all the riders. It’s a really good environment. Coming into the Tour of Britain we had prepared well and felt ready to come here and do something.”

For full results and standings, please click here.

Andre Greipel wins Stage Seven in Ipswich

Andre Greipel sprinted to victory in Ipswich, Suffolk at the end of the Aviva Tour of Britain’s longest stage, a 227-kilometre leg from Fakenham in Norfolk.

The Lotto Soudal rider headed home Team Sky’s double stage winner Elia Viviani and IAM Cycling’s Sondre Holst Enger by the narrowest of margins

The win was Greipel’s fourth Aviva Tour of Britain stage win, adding to the three victories he took in the 2010 edition of the race.

MTN Qhubeka’s Edvald Boasson Hagen took fifth to maintain his thirteen second lead over Wout Poels and the Aviva Yellow Jersey heading to London and the final stage of the race.

Team WIGGINS’ Owain Doull finished safely sixth to keep his lead in the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, as well as remaining the Premier Inn Best British Rider thanks to his fourth overall.  Only a Boasson Hagen stage win in London will deny the Welshman the Chain Reaction Cycles jersey, providing he finishes the stage.

Peter Williams clinched the SKODA King of the Mountains competition, with no climbs on the final stage London circuit, the ONE Pro Cycling rider took maximum points on the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb of the 2015 race at Brantham Hill in Suffolk to win by two points from Madison Genesis’ Tom Stewart.

Williams also maintains a seven point lead in the YodelDirect Sprints competition.  Nine points are available on the London Stage presented by TfL, so only An Post Chain Reaction rider Conor Dunne can defeat him.

Starting in damp conditions from Fakenham’s racecourse, the original four man break consisted of Chris Opie, Alistair Slater, Johnny McEvoy and Tom Stewart, before that was reeled in and another all British group of Alex Dowsett, Gabriel Cullaigh and Graham Briggs went away, with the latter going on to win the Rouleur Combativity Award for Stage Seven.

With the battle for the final SKODA King of the Mountains points at Brantham Hill a priority, Madison Genesis worked hard to bring back the break, catching first Dowsett and then the other two escapees.

Williams took the points at the top of the ascent, with both Zdenek Stybar and then Rob Partridge attempting to go clear in the final kilometres.

Lotto Soudal and Team Sky worked hard on the front to set up the sprint for their men Greipel and Viviani, and it looked briefly like the Italian had claimed the victory on the near side, but television replays confirmed it was the German who crossed the line first.

On the Aviva General Classification there was no change at the top, with Boasson Hagen preserving his lead, but fifth placed rider Dylan Teuns, from BMC Racing, did crash out as the race passed through Wattisham Flying Station, which provided a unique home to the day’s final YodelDirect Sprint, flanked by Apache helicopters of the British Army.

For full results and standings from Stage Seven, please click here.

The 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain concludes in central London with Stage Eight from 3.30pm on Sunday 13 September, with a 14-lap circuit race starting and finishing on Regent Street St James, and taking in the sights of Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Regent Street.

Riders will contest three YodelDirect Sprints on the start/finish line on Laps Three, Six and Nine, with the final points and time bonuses of the available.

Highlights of Stage Seven will be on ITV4 at 8pm on Saturday 12 September with a repeat at 09.55am on Sunday 13 September.  Highlights of all seven stages so far are also available on demand via the ITV Player.

Edvald Boasson Hagen defends Aviva Tour of Britain lead in Nottingham

Edvald Boasson Hagen extended his lead in the Aviva Tour of Britain, finishing second on Nottingham’s Forest Recreation Ground behind Etixx Quick-Step rider Matteo Trentin, who took his team’s third stage win of the week.

The Italian outsprinted Boasson Hagen in a two-up sprint at the end of the 192-kilometre stage after the Aviva Yellow Jersey had bridged across to him in the final kilometres through Nottingham, going on to describe the stage as the hardest he had ever ridden.

The two riders were just ahead of a chasing bunch of 28 riders, all that remained of the main field at the end of a hard day’s racing, which saw aggressive riding from the start in Stoke-on-Trent.

The sight of a 75 strong grupetto coming home 45-minutes and 47-seconds behind the stage winner – on a 192km stage of less than five hours and featuring no long climbs – would appear to back up Trentin’s claim.

That the Etixx Quick-Step rider had contributed massively to the main break of the day while still having enough energy to outsprint Boasson Hagen was testament to his good form.

“For me and probably 99% of the field that is the hardest race I have ever done,” said Trentin. “It was full gas right from the beginning we never really stopped. You just have to look at the numbers, I was averaging 365 watts for four hours and 45 minutes. That’s tough. In the break we were never more than one minute or so ahead, the race was always on and never slowed. Even when it was flat at the start we had cross winds and then think about riding the climbs in the cross winds

“When Edvald attacked off the front of the group and came up to join me I thought that would be it because somebody was sure to chase the yellow jersey. But when he joined me we looked back and everybody was on the limit. Edvald was riding for the bonifaction and GC so I took a rest in his wheel and went for the stage win. And then I just sprinted as hard as I could.

“That is the mentality of this Etixx team whether even when we have injuries or crashes. We have a winning mentality, we always race for the victory, we are never here to be just part of the race. Sometime it works sometime it doesn’t but we always try.”

The Etixx Quick-Step team have now won three stages of the race, although both previous stage victors – Petr Vakoc and Fernando Gaviria – have dropped out through injury, and were today joined by Mark Cavendish who crashed, causing his abandonment.

With two stages to go, Boasson Hagen now leads by 13-seconds from Wout Poels, with Rasmus Guldhammer third at 43-seconds and Britain’s Owain Doull fourth, one second back and keeping hold of both the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey and Premier Inn Best British Rider Award.

In both the YodelDirect Sprints and SKODA King of the Mountains classifications there was no change with ONE Pro Cycling’s Peter Williams keeping hold of both jerseys, with neither Williams or his nearest challengers collecting any points towards either competition on Stage Six.

Boasson Hagen and Trentin had both been among a leading group of 30-riders that over the course of the stage from Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham, through Derbyshire and the Peak District, that chased a lead group of varying different combinations.

Initially a strong eight man group of Trentin, Ian Stannard, Zdenek Stybar, Stefan Kueng, Steven Kruijswijk, Sebastian Langeveld, Tao Geoghegan Hart and last year’s winner Dylan Van Baarle forged ahead, but on heavy rolling roads the race was a constantly changing picture, until a six rider group built a small group.

Kueng and Trentin remained clear coming off the hills and into Nottingham, with the latter taking a slender lead into the final three-kilometres before being joined by Boasson Hagen.  The MTN Qhubeka rider jumped across the gap that had been reduced by Sky duo Stannard and Ben Swift, but couldn’t defeat Trentin in the sprint.

“It was a really hard day but I am happy with that result,” said Boasson Hagen afterwards. “I would have happily settled for that before the start of the stage. Sky applied the pressure and eventually the break went and when Stannard came back I had to try and cover the moves and hope for the best. 

“Stannard asked me to ride at one stage and that is natural of course but I didn’t want to do that before the final intermediate sprint because I could have lost time there or they could have attacked me there. I wanted to wait as long as possible before I stated to work but it was always my plan to try something about five kiloetres out. I looked over and Wouter seemed to be on his own so I went.

“I didn’t feel my form was that good at the start of the race but it feels like it is getting better every day now. We will see tomorrow for sure. A lot of people are very tired although perhaps the riders in the grupetto are not quite so tired. I need to stay focussed for two more days now and hope that the team have been saving a lot of energy for the long day tomorrow.”

Coming home in third place on Stage Six four seconds back was the in-form Owain Doull of Team WIGGINS who now moves into fourth place overall with power to add in the final two stage.

“I’ve been taking it day by day, it was very hard from the off but I made the selection and was very happy with third place.  I’m a bit surprised at my form although I have always targeted this race and the Under-23 Worlds later this month.

“We will be trying to get onto the podium, there are three intermediate sprints tomorrow with a total of nine seconds available so if I could grab a few of those it would be pretty good but I need to keep contesting the finishes as well and try and get it that way as well. We will give it a good go in the next two days.”

For full results and standings please click here.

Stage Seven sees the race return to East Anglia for the first time since 2012, with Norfolk hosting its first stage start, at Fakenham, since 2010.  At 227-kilometres riders will face the longest stage of the race to Ipswich, including a YodelDirect Sprint on the runway of Wattisham Airfield, home to the British Army’s Apache helicopters.

Edvald Boasson Hagen moves into Aviva Tour of Britain lead on Hartside

All images ©CyclingShorts.cc / www.chrismaher.co.uk

Wout Poels, who did so much sterling work for Chris Froome at the Tour de France this Summer, grabbed his own slice of glory with a superb win on the queen stage of this year’s Aviva Tour of Britain, finishing at the top of the Hartside climb in Cumbria.

The Dutchman, who put in several attacks on the ascent of Hartside, eventually overtook leader Edvald Boasson Hagen in the final 200-metres, to put himself just one-second behind the Norwegian, who took over ownership of the Aviva Yellow Jersey with three stages to go.

The eight-kilometre climb to the 1,902-feet summit of Hartside re-shaped the GC, with Boasson Hagen and Poels, who started the day second and third respectively, doing battle with Lotto NL Jumbo’s Steven Kruijswijk for much of the ascent up the Cumbrian Fell, one of the longest continuous climbs in England.

Cannondale Garmin’s Ruben Zepuntke had been the first to put in a serious effort to go clear, before Kruijswijk broke away, being joined by Poels, who had been led into the foot of the climb at high speed by Peter Kennaugh, flushing out the serious challengers.

But the powerful Boasson Hagen was not deterred and bridged across to Poels and Kruijswijk and then attacked strongly with 1.5km to go looked clear and set for a stage win.

Poels though is immensely strong and durable and had paced himself well, knowing that the finale was tough going as it turned into the strong Helm Wind which blows off these Cumbrian Fells no matter how benign the day – indeed it’s the only mountain wind in Britain that has a specific name! It was blowing gently by its own standards but it was still enough to have an influence on the race.

Gradually, and then quickly, Poels reeled the tiring Boasson Hagen in and with 150m to go passed the MTN Qhubeka rider and headed for the line and Team Sky’s third stage win of the Aviva Tour of Britain. Boasson Hagen however kept going bravely to limit his losses and was rewarded with the Aviva Yellow Jersey, with overnight leader Juan Jose Lobato being one of the first riders to be dropped after passing through the village of Melmberby at the base of the climb.

Behind Boasson Hagen and Poels, Denmark’s Rasmus Guldhammer of the Cult Energy team lies at 30-seconds, with Movistar’s Benat Intxausti a further three seconds back.

Team WIGGINS’ Owain Doull lies fifth overall, the Premier Inn Best British Rider and also the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey thanks to his consistent top placings.

With a classic tough day around Derbyshire and the Peak District in prospect on Day Six the race between first and second couldn’t be closer and Boasson Hagen, the overall winner of the Tour of Britain in 2009, and his team are certain to come under severe pressure.

In his favour however will be the inside knowledge he has on the Team Sky riders and their tactics after five years spent racing with the team and the fact that if any of the remaining three stages end in a sprint he might be better equipped to challenge for bonus seconds. It’s going to be an intriguing battle all the way to London and time bonuses could yet prove vital.

Wout Poels Stage 5 Winner Interview Aviva Tour Of Britain by Cycling Shorts

CyclingShorts.cc writer Chris Maher caught up with Stage 5 winner Wout Poels after his hilltop victory. Wout Poels, who did so much sterling work for Chris Froome at the Tour de France this Summer, grabbed his own slice of glory with a superb win on the queen stage of this year’s Aviva Tour of Britain, finishing at the top of the Hartside climb in Cumbria.

“It was really close.” admitted Poels.  “At 500-metres to go when Edvald attacked really strongly I thought I was going to be second but then he slowed down a little bit so I took my chance. I knew there was going to be strong cross winds in the last 500-metres, in fact it was quite rough for the last 3-kilometres.

“Riding in a wind like that can be real difficult so I went back at one stage to try to work together – there was a group of about four of us – but everybody was looking for the stage win and also I had the GC in my mind. Then Edvald attacked and he looked very strong but I still felt strong and I knew how hard it was out there in the front riding on your own.

 “It’s always nice to go for your own win and GC occasionally. I don’t get to win a lot of races but I really enjoyed today. You know when you go to the Tour de France with Team Sky you are working for Chris Froome that is your job.

“It’s going to be difficult to get past Edvald now because he is a good sprinter. He is looking strong but I am going to do my best. Tomorrow though is going to be a very hard stage also so perhaps there are possibilities.” 

Boasson Hagen meawhile acknowledges that perhaps he went a little early but it was a risk worth taking.

“I knew the wind was going to be really hard but my hope was to build enough of a gap when we had the tailwind but Walt was too strong. When he went past I tries to ride for seconds and I am happy to have the jersey.

“Sky rode very strongly today and every stage is going to be hard from now on. They have been taking a lot of responsibility in the race every day. They have already won three stages and want to win the GC so we will need to ride smart to defend the jersey. We will fight as hard as possible.

“This race is on another level from when I won in 2009, it has become very hard. It’s also a bigger race with the crowds and Team Sky have done a lot to make that happen, and encourage the interest in the British crowds.”

ONE Pro Cycling’s Peter Williams departed Prudhoe in Northumberland on Thursday morning wearing the YodelDirect Sprints Jersey, but after another day spent in the break through the packed crowds of Northumberland the Skipton based rider also had possession of the SKODA King of the Mountains climb.

Joining Williams in the break was Madison Genesis’ Mark McNally, who won the Rouleur Combativity Award, while thanks to the performances of Intxausti and Ruben Fernandez, the Movistar Team move into the lead of the Aviva Team Classification.

For full results and standings, please click here.

The Aviva Tour of Britain resumes in Stoke-on-Trent on Friday morning for Stage Six, getting underway in the city centre at 1030, before heading for Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands.

The route heads into the Peak District National Park, including 3,500-metres of climbing during the 192-kilometre stage that finishes in Nottingham’s Forest Recreation Ground after passing through Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock, Belper and Ilkeston.

Highlights of Stage Five are on ITV4 at 8pm with a repeat on Friday 11 September on the same channel at 11.55am.

Wout Poels Stage 5 Winner Interview Aviva Tour Of Britain

Wout Poels Stage 5 Winner Interview Aviva Tour Of Britain by Cycling Shorts

CyclingShorts.cc writer Chris Maher caught up with Stage 5 winner Wout Poels after his hilltop victory. Wout Poels, who did so much sterling work for Chris Froome at the Tour de France this Summer, grabbed his own slice of glory with a superb win on the queen stage of this year’s Aviva Tour of Britain, finishing at the top of the Hartside climb in Cumbria.

CyclingShorts.cc writer/photographer Chris Maher caught up with Stage 5 winner Wout Poels after his hilltop victory.
Wout Poels, who did so much sterling work for Chris Froome at the Tour de France this Summer, grabbed his own slice of glory with a superb win on the queen stage of this year’s Aviva Tour of Britain, finishing at the top of the Hartside climb in Cumbria.

Fernando Gaviria wins Stage 4 Aviva Tour of Britain

All images ©CyclingShorts.cc / www.chrismaher.co.uk

World Omnium Champion Fernando Gaviria claimed one of the best wins of his career to date, sprinting to victory in Blyth, Northumberland, showing an extraordinary turn of speed to beat Andre Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen at the end of a long, 217-kilometre stage from Edinburgh.

Gaviria, just 21, was expertly guided into pole positon by the Etixx Quick-Step team with Zdenek Stybar acting as pilot and Mark Cavendish as sweeper before he moved decisively to the right of the road and taking off with a blistering turn of speed reminiscent of Cavendish at his best, offering up a low crouching profile to reduce the drag.

It was a classy and comprehensive win in Northumberland, earning a congratulatory handshake from Greipel and a raised fist of triumph from teammate Cavendish as he crossed the line.

The victory was Etixx Quick-Step’s second so far of the Aviva Tour of Britain, and came on the day that their Stage Two winner Petr Vakoc retired from the race as a result of the crash that cost him the Aviva Yellow Jersey at Floors Castle.

It was a textbook ride by the Etixx Quick-Step team who rode aggressively to put the dangerous Matteo Trentin in the break for them, which meant that the team could then rely on the Movistar Team and Team Sky to make most of the going chasing before coming to the fore at the end.  Trentin’s reward was the Crockwell Bishop cheese from Rouleur as Combativity Award winner for Stage Four from Edinburgh to Blyth.

Interview – Fernando Gaviria Stage 4 Winner Of Aviva Tour Of Britain 2015 by Cycling Shorts

Fernando Gaviria speaks after his epic stage win. Gaviria, just 21, was expertly guided into pole positon by the Etixx Quick-Step team with Zdenek Stybar acting as pilot and Mark Cavendish as sweeper before he moved decisively to the right of the road and taking off with a blistering turn of speed reminiscent of Cavendish at his best, offering up a low crouching profile to reduce the drag.

“It was a victory for the team, Mark put me in a very good positon and I just went for it,” said Gaviria from Le Ceja near Medellin. “My mentality is always to go for the win. 

“I have been very surprised by the crowds, they have been very big, back on Colombia these days you don’t get such big crowds as this anymore for cycling so it was great to race in front of so many fans. The countryside was good but it was the first time I have seen a windfarm, I did wonder what that was when we rode past one.”

Gaviria’s stage win was the first for a Colombian rider since Mauricio Ardila’s victory at Celtic Manor in the inaugural edition of the modern Tour of Britain in 2004.

A considerable career awaits for a rider that his DS Brian Holm described yesterday as a cross between Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish.

High praise indeed for Gaviria who looked pleased at the compliment. “They are great riders and champions and I have always dreamed to be a rider like hem so I am very happy to be compared with them.”

At the top of the Aviva General Classification Movistar’s Juan Jose Lobato stayed in the Aviva Yellow Jersey, although with a lead trimmed to six seconds thanks to the bonus seconds for Boasson Hagen’s third place.

The Spaniard did though lose the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, which switches to the shoulders of Team WIGGINS’ Owain Doull, also the Premier Inn Best British Rider.

After a spectacular opening few kilometres through the heart of Edinburgh, including the Royal Mile, a strong six rider break including Alan Marangoni, Danilo Wyss, Michael Svendgaard, Rob Partridge and Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg, plus Trentin, who started the day just 18-seconds back from Lobato, resulting in the Movistar Team led by former World Hour record holder Alex Dowsett to be pressed into immediate service to ride hard in the service of their Aviva Yellow Jersey.

With the Movistar Team keeping the break pegged at four minutes, the sprint trains of Sky and Lotto Soudal took over responsibility for the chase, working hard to reduce the deficit as they passed through thousands of spectators in the towns of Coldstream, Wooler and Alnwick among others.

In the SKODA King of the Mountains competition there was no change with Tom Stewart of Madison Genesis still leading on 25 points, two ahead of Ian Bibby of NFTO and Kristian House of JLT Condor presented by Mavic. Nor was there any change in the YodelDirect Sprints with Peter Williams of ONE Pro Cycling still one point ahead of Pim Ligthart of Lotto Soudal and Aidis Kruopis of An Post Chain Reaction.

 

The race resumes in Northumberland tomorrow, Thursday 10 September, with Stage Five starting from Prudhoe at 11:15 and taking in Hadrian’s Wall, before crossing into Cumbria and skirting Ullswater in the Lake District National Park.  The stage concludes with the summit finish of Hartside, an eight-kilometre climb above Penrith, averaging just over 5%.

Highlights of Stage Four from Edinburgh to Blyth will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm, with a repeat on the same channel at 10.55am on Thursday 10 September.  The programme will also be available via ITV’s catch-up service for 30-days.

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