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.

Drucker, Guarischi and Alldis Conquer RideLondon-Surrey Classic

classic-winner-15(300)Jean-Pierre Drucker produced the sprint of his life to win the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic today beating Britain’s Ben Swift and Dutchman Mike Teunissen on The Mall in central London to claim the first victory of his professional career.

The 28-year-old was part of an eight-strong group of cyclists that burst clear of the peloton with a quarter of the 200-kilometre race to go before four riders hared up Whitehall and under Admiralty Arch in pursuit of glory.

Swift led them up The Mall with the Finish Line in sight and Buckingham Palace visible in the distance, the Team Sky sprinter desperate to make amends for last year when he lost by a hair’s width to Adam Blythe.

But Drucker had been tailing him home and the Luxembourg rider launched his attack with 50 metres to go, surprising the Briton and Lotto NL-Jumbo’s Teunissen to take a hard-earned victory built on brilliant teamwork by his experienced BMC Racing Team.

Drucker threw his arm in the air as he crossed the line to thunderous roars, a huge grin breaking out on his bearded face.

“To get my first professional win in front of Buckingham Palace is so special,” said Drucker. “The crowd here is so crazy about cycling, it’s fantastic to get my first win here.

“I love racing in England. I did the Tour of Yorkshire this year and that was fantastic too. After getting my first pro win here, I love it even more.”

Swift broke his shoulder in the Yorkshire race but fought his way back from surgery to bid for victory in this event, still smarting from last year’s defeat. He led the three medallists in a hard chase along Millbank to reel in Teunissen’s team-mate Sep Vanmarcke, who had made a lone bid for victory 12km out.

Once they’d overpowered the Belgian, all the smart money was on the Sheffield man, a renowned finishing kicker. But Drucker had finished just behind ‘Manx missile’ Mark Cavendish in California earlier this year and was confident of his chances.

“I was feeling good all day and at the end I just kept my eye on Swift,” said Drucker. “I could see he was very motivated and really wanted victory in front of his own crowd. I knew he would go for the win, but I worked hard as well.

“I’m a fast guy too and I just tried not to make any mistakes. I love it when it’s hard and that was our plan. We tried to make it a hard race by moving guys to the front. It always feels so good when a plan works out.”

As for Swift, in the end he was happy enough to make the podium for the second year in a row after missing three months’ training, although he admitted to miscalculating his finish.

“I had to go really hard in the last few kilometres and I started to cramp up a little bit from the effort of chasing,” said Swift. “Even though I’d have loved to have won, I’m really, really happy.

“I had three months out of competition so this is a really nice way to come back to racing and get a good result straight away. It was good to be on the podium.

“I couldn’t see any metres-to-go boards so I got caught on the front, trying to get the others to come round me, but you could see the guys coming from behind so you couldn’t play too much cat-and-mouse.”

As for Cavendish, the much-fancied Briton was missing his key lead-out man Mark Renshaw and was not at his best after a week-long illness following the Tour de France. It quickly became clear that he wasn’t going to save himself for a final sprint as he spearheaded not one, but two attacks during the race, and coasted home 44th.

In fact, Cavendish was barely out of the camera lens in the early stages as he could be seen chatting with Britain’s other big-name star Sir Bradley Wiggins as the field of 143 riders rolled off the red carpet and away from the signing-on point at Horse Guards Parade, and he was among a group of four in a mini-break shortly after the peloton passed over Hampton Court Bridge.

The Briton was soon at the back of the race, however, where he stopped to receive mechanical attention to the front of his bike, leaving him briefly off the pace.

Madison Genesis rider Erick Rowsell, brother of Olympic gold medallist and RideLondon-Surrey 100 rider Joanna, was among a group of five who then escaped  as the peloton rattled through Byfleet to Ripley and on to the sun-splashed Surrey countryside.

Another Briton, Peter Williams of One Pro Cycling, was also in the breakaway, along with the young Italian Riccardo Stacchiotti of Vini Fantini, Topspot Vlaanderen’s Sander Helven, and Lander Seynaeve of Wanty-Group Gobert.

They opened a gap of five minutes with just over a quarter of the race gone and stayed away over the first four of the event’s five categorised climbs up Leith Hill and over Ranmore Common three times.

Rowsell, from Sutton, was racing in his own backyard and the Surrey man used his local knowledge to lead up the narrow lanes and over the summits, amassing points for the King of the Mountains competition, while Williams concentrated on securing the sprint title, out-battling Stacchiotti for the honour.

BMC sent their young Dutch stagiaire Floris Gerts up the road to try and bridge the gap, and by the time they’d completed the three Ranmore loops, he had replaced Seynaeve among the leaders. The peloton broke up on the third Ranmore climb, and Lotto NL-Jumbo charged out to reel them in like a pack of wolves hunting down their prey.

Seven men reached the base of Box Hill with just over 50km to go. But their time alone was numbered and Gerts’s team-mates Philippe Gilbert and Rohan Dennis emerged from the pack for the first time to lead the chase up the slopes, driving on at the top in an attempt to leave the race sprinters in their wake.

With an hour’s racing still to go, it was now a case of heads down for the city. Cavendish briefly launched himself out in front with Dennis, then eight burst clear to open a gap that grew to more than a minute as they reached Kingston for a second time.

Among them were Swift, Drucker, Vanmarcke and Tuenissen. The gap grew to two-and-a-half minutes and with just 15km to go the main field called off the hunt.

Vanmarcke attacked as they skirted Wimbledon Common and he opened a 16-second lead as he crossed the river at Putney Bridge. A well-practised one-day rider, the Belgian seemed to be pulling away. But he was he gasping for air, and the lead vanished as Swift led the chasers on the run-in to along Millbank and past the Houses of Parliament.

It was a hard slog. Too hard as it turned out for the Briton, as Drucker burst off his shoulder for the win of his life.

Swift may have missed out, but there was some good news for Britain as a delighted Rowsell bagged the King of the Mountains contest on the rolling hills he’s been riding since he was 14.

“They are all local roads to me,” said the 25-year-old. “I grew up riding around here and have been up Box Hill and Leith Hill hundreds of times. I knew no one in the race would know these hills as well as me.

“So to win King of the Mountains here made it a perfect day.”

It was a perfect day for Jean-Pierre Drucker too.

 

Defending champion Adam Blythe talks team tactics ahead of the Classic

The Orica-GreenEDGE rider expects this year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic to come down to a bunch sprint on The Mall when the riders roll into the capital after conquering the Surrey Hills.

 

 

Guarischi pays tribute to her team after Grand Prix win

Velocio Sports deliver team leader Barbara Guarischi to the line in the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix.

 

Alldis makes it third time lucky to win Handcycle Classic

A bad night’s sleep couldn’t stop Brian Alldis from fulfilling his dream of winning the 2015 Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic.

The Six Day’s… Leave them alone – Minty’s Ramblings

Tom Murray - Image © Anna Magrath Cycling Shorts.

This winter I set off to the Gent, Six days full of enthusiasm and excitement, its somewhere I have great memories off, somewhere I have passed down many a story about to my friends, family and anyone else who would listen. But there is a problem, a worry stuck in my head I think the world needs to know, but first I better tell you why I qualify to worry about the six days.

The Kuipke track has always been close to my heart, in truth it’s the whole reason I got to ride a bike for a living. As a young kid my parents took me across to Gent to watch the six day with Ben Swift I remember us both sitting there staring in amazement as the six day rolled on and on into the early hours of the night and the party in the middle of the track got more and more wild and out of hand. I made a decision there and then that I wanted to ride the six days, I wanted a piece of that atmosphere to be part of the whole circus, it felt a lot more than just a bike race is was entertaining and a real show.

The thought of riding at Kuipke in the six days didn’t leave me and a few years later I moved to Gent to live with a Belgian family in the heart of cycling land. Riding for the Kingsnorth International team I spent three years riding on the kermis circuit out in Belgium, a great experience. One that taught me how to be a racing cyclist in truth and in 2007 I was finally lucky enough to get an invitation to ride the Noel Fore Memorial event on the Kuipke track. It had taken some getting there but I had made it onto the track in Gent. Even better was that after a good performance riding with Peter Williams against mostly national squads we received an invitation to the UIV amateur six days of Gent. It was the best news ever; I was to be involved in some small way in the six days! I remember the six nights well, it was hard, a real learning experience, some nights went well others went awful but it didn’t really matter I was part of the six day show, full of adrenaline and excitement.

After that first amateur six day, over the next three years I was lucky enough to ride twice more in Gent and once in Amsterdam, Dortmund and in between took in International events in Alkmaar, Munich and on the new Eddy Merckx track in Gent. Every event was a new experience, a new place, different people a proper adventure, you didn’t always know how you would get from place to place. Once along with Tom Smith I was stuffed in the back of Iljo Keisse’s car along with his huge number six flower after been left stranded in Amsterdam! But that was all part of been immersed in the six day circuit. Although I never got to step up to the professional six day circuit I am happy that for a small while I was part of it, even if that part was pretty small.

So what’s my problem? Well, the atmosphere at Gent this year was pretty subdued, the showmen or orchestrator of the sixes seemed to have disappeared (granted Keisse who is probably the current star of the sixes wasn’t able to take part) and the crowd seemed more interested in the bar than the track. My theory on the reason for this is the changing face of track racing, something that was once fairly individual that didn’t rely on you been in a big backed trade team or part of a national set up now seems to be exactly that. Add to this the exclusion of the Madison from the Olympic Games and it seems like while track racing is becoming universally more popular and important the six days is not been pulled along with it.

In my last year of riding the amateur six days it became more difficult to gain an entry as a result of not been the ‘national’ selection of your country, it had changed from riders who had done it off their own backs, who wanted to be there and be part of it, people who travelled in the back of transit vans from event to event all to be part of the six day circus to deadly serious national selections who the majority of the time while respecting the events were gearing up for bigger and better things on an international stage. This year when I went back and saw the UIV amateur six it was exclusively national selection teams, that’s not that there’s a problem with those riders I’m sure they want to be there and enjoy the experience but in reality there going to move on from the six day circuit to focus on World Championships, Olympic Disciplines or a road career, leaving little for the professional six day circuit to pick from when they look for new riders.

I think that’s the problem, while as the sport gains in popularity the professional six day’s may have to come in line with new format’s that interest a wider audience but the amateur six days should always allow entries from those who have their own dreams and ambitions and follow them. These people are where your characters come from after all. The current six day star Iljo Keisse grew up riding on Kuipke, his dad owns a bar just round the corner from it, he’s a true six day rider who grew up watching the six days and wanted to be part of that, take away the possibility of that happening and in effect your killing the six days slowly. True there are still some rides left, Franco Marvulli and Danny Stam spring to mind, but what happens when they have hung up the wheels, where are the next true six day riders coming from?

Sport’s grow, evolve and change, the UCI in their wisdom have proved this by booting the Madison and individual pursuits out but some things should stay the same for their own good.

 

Minty

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Tour of Britain 2011 – Stage 6 – Taunton to Wells Image Gallery

 

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The Tour of Britain 2011
Stage 6 Summary
Taunton to Wells 16 Sep 2011

** Indicates Under 23 riders
 

Stage

  1. Lars Boom (Rabobank)
  2. Alexandre Pichot (Team Europcar)
  3. Leopold Koenig (Team NetApp)

Overall

  1. Lars Boom (Rabobank)
  2. Leopold Koenig (Team NetApp)
  3. Daniel Lloyd (Team Garmin – Cervelo)

Points

  1. Lars Boom (Rabobank)
  2. Geraint Thomas (Sky ProCycling)
  3. Mark Cavendish (HTC Highroad)

Mountains

  1. Jonathan Tiernan Locke (Rapha Condor – Sharp)
  2. Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
  3. Stephen Cummings (Sky ProCycling)

Sprints

  1. Pieter Ghyllebert (An Post – Sean Kelly)
  2. Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
  3. Lars Boom (Rabobank)

 

Written & edited by Anna Magrath. All Images ©Copyright Paul Sloper

 

If you wish to purchase or get permission to use any of the images in this article or gallery please contact Paul through our contacts page.

 
 
 
 

Tour of Britain 2011 – Stage 5 – Exeter to Exmouth Image Gallery

 

[flagallery gid=3 name=”Gallery”]

 
I decided to take a few days off work to go and watch and shoot some photos of the Tour of Britain stage 5 and 6. I decided not to go to start or finish as it’s not so easy to get backwards and forwards from one location to another without get stuck in the tour traffic. I hope you enjoy them!

Paul.

 
The Tour of Britain 2011
Stage 5 Summary
Exeter to Exmouth 15 Sep 2011

** Indicates Under 23 riders
 

Stage

  1. Mark Renshaw (HTC Highroad)
  2. Mark Cavendish (HTC Highroad)
  3. Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare)

Overall

  1. Lars Boom (Rabobank)
  2. Geraint Thomas (Sky ProCycling)
  3. Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare)

Points

  1. Geraint Thomas (Sky ProCycling)
  2. Mark Cavendish (HTC Highroad)
  3. Lars Boom (Rabobank)

Mountains

  1. Jonathan Tiernan Locke (Rapha Condor – Sharp)
  2. Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
  3. Stephen Cummings (Sky ProCycling)

Sprints

  1. Pieter Ghyllebert (An Post – Sean Kelly)
  2. Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
  3. Andrew Fenn** (An Post – Sean Kelly)

 

Written by Paul Sloper & Anna Magrath. All Images ©Copyright Paul Sloper

 

If you wish to purchase or get permission to use any of the images in this article or gallery please contact Paul through our contacts page.

 
 
 
 

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