Race Report & Gallery – Steve Cummings wins the Tour of Britain

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

Steve Cummings clinched overall victory in the Tour of Britain at the end of the London Stage presented by TfL, finishing safely within the bunch to seal the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg, as Caleb Ewan sprinted to victory.

The Brit, who took the jersey after Stage Six in Devon, crossed the line on Regent Street St James in 17th position as the bunch fought out the victory at the end of the 16-lap circuit race.

Cummings is the second British rider to win the modern incarnation of the Tour of Britain, following Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victory in 2013.  Cummings also wins the Adnams Best British Rider prize.

Behind Cummings there was no change on the overall classification, with BMC Racing Team’s Rohan Dennis second at 26-seconds and Team Giant Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin third a further 12-seconds in arrears.

Lotto Soudal’s Tony Gallopin took fourth with 2014 Tour of Britain winner Dylan Van Baarle in fifth.  Team Sky’s Ben Swift was the other Brit in the top 10, finishing eighth.

 

Interview – Steve Cummings – 2016 Tour of Britain Winner by Cycling Shorts

2016’s Tour of Britain winner Steve Cummings of Dimension Data chats to the media post race. All content & Images ©www.CyclingShorts.cc | www.ChrisMaher.co.uk

I’m delighted. Finally I can smile and enjoy it. It’s been a tough week. It was so close that it wasn’t done until I crossed the line,” said Cummings afterwards

I’d to thank all my team-mates for keeping me out of trouble, and the British public for supporting every day like they have. It’s been a great week.

It’s a bit overwhelming, I just want to but a baseball cap on and a hood up and disappear now for a while and get back out of the way.

Steve Cummings

Tour of Britain 2016 Yellow Jersey Winner

Orica BikeExchange’s 22-year-old sprinter Caleb Ewan took his first win on British roads, becoming the ninth different stage winner of the week in a highly competitive Tour of Britain.  Lotto Soudal’s Jen Debusschere had taken a flyer coming through Trafalgar Square in the final kilometre and at one stage looked like holding his advantage to the line, but such was the speed of Ewan that the young Australian rocketed past, with Dylan Groenewegen also coming past for second.

Groenewegen’s runner up spot, his fourth top ten of the week, helped him into the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey.

In the Yodel Sprints classification An Post Chain Reaction’s Jasper Bovenhuis took the jersey, joining the day’s breakaway once again to mop up the jersey after the first of three intermediate Yodel Sprints.  Bovenhuis’ final advantage was 12-points over Andre Greipel, but the German did win the overall HIGH5 Combativity Award in a week that saw him win a stage and on several occasions light up the Tour of Britain with his attacking riding.

With no SKODA King of the Mountains points on offer in London Xandro Meurisse enjoyed a final day in the jersey, adding that classification win to his seventh place overall.

Steve Cummings leads Tour of Britain heading into final stage

Steve Cummings survived a penultimate stage assault from BMC Racing Team’s Rohan Dennis to head to London for the final stage of the Tour of Britain wearing the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg of race leader.

Having come second, behind Tony Martin, in the morning’s time trial, Dennis attacked late on in the afternoon’s second part of the Bristol Stage presented by OVO Energy to take the win and to haul himself to within 26-seconds of the overall lead.

Behind Cummings came in 15th within a group six seconds back after a frantic chase of lone leader Dennis across the Clifton Downs to limit the BMC rider’s advantage.

It was a tough two stages, First off in the morning the conditions were treacherous really with the rain so I was happy to get that done and limit my losses. Luckily the weather improved in the afternoon so that was less of a concern it was just about not losing the race at the start and being attentive at the end. I had two people I had to follow and I let one go but it wasn’t that I just fell asleep it was that I didn’t have the legs to do it! I still limited my losses though and kept the jersey so it’s a good day for everyone.

Steve Cummings

Team Dimension Data

Dennis had responded to an acceleration from Tom Dumoulin on the final of six ascents of Bridge Valley Road after the peloton had caught a four rider break containing Andre Greipel, who won the HIGH5 Combativity Award for Stage Seven, on the last of those circuits.

The former UCI World Hour Record holder went clear as the climb stiffened, showing further good climbing form in a week that has seen him star on the ascents of The Struggle in Cumbria (Stage Two) and Haytor in Devon (Stage Six).  Dennis then put his time trialling abilities to the fore to hold off the 20-plus rider group behind.

Coming into the final kilometre on the Downs Cummings put in a big effort to close down Dennis and limit his losses, briefly gapping his rivals before fading slightly in the final few hundred metres for a safe 15th position.

Looking ahead to Stage Eight, the London Stage presented by TfL, Rohan Dennis was pestimistic about his chances of overturning Cummings’ advantage.

To pick up 26-seconds it means I’d have to go off the front and win the stage, and with at least four teams there that would want it to be a bunch sprint that’s pretty unlikely to be honest. The first plan will probably be just to make sure we don’t lose second and then if there is an opportunity to take time off Steve then I’ll take it, but with his team it’ll be tough they’re pretty experienced and riding the front and closing down anything that’s dangerous.

Rohan Dennis

Team BMC Racing

The stage win does though move Dennis into the lead of the Chain Reaction Cycles Points classification with a six-point advantage over Dumoulin. Dutch national champion Dylan Groenewegen lies a further two points in arrears, and looks the favourite for the jersey should the final stage end in a bunch sprint, as expected.

The Yodel Sprints Jersey will go down to the final day, with An Post Chain Reaction’s Jasper Bovenhuis holding a six-point lead over Greipel, with nine points to play for at three intermediate Yodel Sprints during the 16-lap London stage.

One classification that was sealed in Bristol is the SKODA King of the Mountains Jersey, with Wanty Group Gobert’s Xandro Meurisse extending his lead over Nicolas Roche and completing his hold on the jersey that he took on Stage Two in Cumbria.

In the morning’s Alpecin Time Trial Tony Martin had ridden to the victory, clocking an 18-minutes and 6-second lap to beat Dennis by 3-seconds for the second stage win of the week for Etixx Quick-Step, with Olympic Games Silver medallist Tom Dumoulin in third.

Having twice finished second overall in the Tour of Britain (2008 and 2011), Cummings heads to London on the verge of history and becoming the first Brit since Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2013 to win his national Tour.

Speaking after the Bristol Stage presented by OVO Energy which again saw hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the roadside for the seventh day, Steve Cummings said;

All week the crowds have been fantastic here in Britain, people are loving their cycling now and it’s a really cool thing because it’s free to watch and it’s a cool way to get around being on a bike! You get a buzz and you get goosebumps from the crowds and they push you on so it’s great.

Steve Cummings

Team Dimension Data

The Tour of Britain concludes in central London on Sunday 11 September with the London Stage presented by TfL featuring 16-laps of a 6-kilometre circuit taking in the world-famous landmarks of Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.  Stage Eight gets underway at 1430, with live coverage of the Tour of Britain on ITV4 from 1400 to 1700.

Steve Cummings takes the Tour of Britain lead on Dartmoor

Steve Cummings crossed the summit of the Haytor climb in Devon and into the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg as leader of the Tour of Britain at the end of the sixth stage, as Team Sky’s Wout Poels took the stage win in the South West.

Poels led the way, striking out with 1.5-kilometres to go to cross the summit alone for the victory, his third Tour of Britain stage win.

Behind Team Dimension Data man Cummings was amid a gaggle of chasers, crossing the line alone in eighth, at 21-seconds , but with more than enough in hand over previous race leader Julien Vermote to earn himself a 49-second lead on General Classification over Tom Dumoulin.

Speaking after pulling on the Tour of Britain’s Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg for the first time, Steve Cummings said;

The team have done an excellent job all week in taking care of me every day and sacrificed chances for Mark [Cavendish] in the sprints to protect me. I was feeling a little bit of pressure coming into today and I just thought all I could do was do my best and I gave it my all at the end and I’m delighted to take Yellow.

I’ve been second twice before in this race, once by four seconds and once by eight seconds I think, so this race is normally won by seconds not minutes. You still have to claw back those seconds and it’s not done until it’s done. The time trial I’ll just give it full gas and hopefully it’ll be enough to hold off the superstar time trialists Dumoulin and Dennis.

Steve Cummings

Stage 6 ToB2016 Yellow Jersey Holder, Team Dimension Data

In a stage run off in extremely blustery and often wet conditions right from the start at Sidmouth on Devon’s Jurassic Coast the peloton never let the day’s break get more than just over a three minute advantage as the race wended its way across Devon towards the Dartmoor denouement.

With the race together at the foot of the Haytor climb it was BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis who kicked things off with the first attack, being joined by Tom Dumoulin, Gorka Izagirre and Poels as Vermote was distanced.

At 2.5-kilometres to go Cummings and Tony Gallopin briefly made the junction with the three leaders, before Dennis went again, taking Dumoulin and Poels with him.

The next attack was the tall Dutchman’s, and despite the valiant efforts of the Giant Alpecin and BMC rider they couldn’t do enough to reel him in, allowing the Team Sky man to add victory atop Haytor to his summit finish win on Hartside in Cumbria 12-months previously.

“The last part we took control and we wanted to close the gap to go for the stage victory with me,” said Poels speaking afterwards.

“Yogi [Ian Stannard] and Danny [van Poppel] did a really good job, so I was really happy with that. It’s my sixth [win] of the season already and it’s always nice to win here at the Tour of Britain; last year on the uphill finish and this year again. It’s a really nice race.”

Along with Vermote’s demotion from the overall lead to eleventh overall, Etixx Quick-Step teammate Dan Martin completed a miserable day for the team, dropping from fifth to twelth.

Six riders now lie within a minute of the lead going into the Bristol double-stage, including Olympic Games Time Trial Silver medallist Tom Dumoulin, and 2014 Tour of Britain winner Dylan Van Baarle.

The last of those six Xandro Meurisse extended his lead in the SKODA King of the Mountains classification to 15-points over Nicolas Roche, with just 18 left to play for on the Bristol circuit on Saturday afternoon.

For the sprinters Jasper Bovenhuis enjoyed another productive day in the breakaway to hold an eight point lead over Johnny McEvoy in the Yodel Sprints Jersey, while Dan McLay and Nicola Ruffoni have 29-points a-piece towards the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Classification, with the Brit wearing the blue jersey.

 

Highlights of Stage Six are on ITV4 at 8pm on Friday 9 September, with a repeat at 1pm on Saturday 10 September.

The Tour of Britain resumes with the Bristol Stage presented by OVO Energy, taking place over a 15-kilometre circuit in Bristol that includes both the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Bridge Valley Road.

Riders will contest an individual time trial over one lap of the Bristol circuit from 10:01, before the afternoon sees a six-lap circuit race on the same circuit, finishing on the Clifton Downs where Michal Kwiatowski won a Tour of Britain stage in 2014.

Jack Bauer holds off the peloton for Stage Five Tour of Britain victory

Jack Bauer (Cannonade Drapac) put in an all action display to win Stage Five of the Tour of Britain into Bath with a dramatic finish on the Royal Avenue as the peloton caught the break at the line

The victory, his first individual win since breaking his leg 14-months ago at the Tour de France, came at the end of a hard 194.5-kilometre stage from Aberdare in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The Kiwi was part of a five rider break who survived until the final dash for the line, with Bauer and breakaway companions Amael Moinard and Erick Rowsell taking the 1-2-3 in Victoria Park, ahead of Caleb Ewan and Stage Four winner Dylan Groenewegen who led in the break.

It was a tough day out there. We had a great group, a really motivated group and really balanced which is quite unusual for a breakaway in that everyone really commits,” said the Cannondale Drapac rider after the stage.

I really appreciate what I have and I’ve tried to make a real go of it this year but this really caps off a difficult season for me and I think many people had written me off thinking I just couldn’t ride my bike any more or perform to the same level. But a year on I’m back and I’m able to win a race and I’m really grateful for that.

Jack Bauer

Stage 5 ToB winner, Cannonade Drapac

With the race in effect all coming back together for the finish the overall classification remained unchanged, with Julien Vermote continuing in the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg.  The Belgian lies six seconds ahead of Steve Cummings heading towards a potentially decisive summit finish in Devon on Friday’s Stage Six.

Bauer had broken away along with Moinard, Rowsell, Javier Moreno and Johnny McEvoy as the race headed across South Wales.  The quintet built a lead of over five-minutes as the race headed through Gloucestershire, which was whittled down by the teams of Lotto Soudal and LottoNL Jumbo working towards the sprint.

The gap steadily diminished, and with four rider remaining out front the gap was just a handful of seconds racing through the outskirts of Bath.  Taking the penultimate left-hand corner Bauer went clear, but immediately eased as he sense the gradient steepen, following Moreno’s wheel through the final right hander before opening his sprint, to take the win as the charging peloton caught the escapees moments too late.

Dan McLay took a top ten spot in the bunch kick to move into the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, while Jasper Bovenhuis kept the Yodel Sprints Jersey and Xandro Meurisse the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey.

 

All images ©Sweetspot & Theo Southee photography

Highlights of Stage Five are on ITV4 at 8pm with a repeat at Midday on Friday 9 September and available on demand via the ITV Hub for 30-days.

Stage Six sees the peloton head to Devon for a 150-kilometre stage from Sidmouth to Haytor in the Dartmoor National Park, which culminates with a summit finish atop a five-kilometre climb.  Live coverage of Stage is on ITV4 from 12:30, with highlights at 8pm.

Lizzie Armitstead – Stage 3 win and Aviva Yellow Jersey in Derbyshire

Lizzie Armitstead powered to an emotional victory in Chesterfield at the end of the third stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour, outsprinting a trio of breakaway companions to move into the Aviva Yellow Jersey of race leader with two stages remaining.

The reigning World Road Race Champion crossed the line pointing to the sky, dedicating her win in Derbyshire to the memory of Jo Cox, the Birstall MP who was murdered yesterday.

Armitstead crossed the line clear of second placed Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio to now enjoy a five second lead over the Cervelo Bigla rider on the Aviva General Classification, with overnight leader Marianne Vos leading the bunch in for fifth, 36-seconds down.

The Boels Dolmans rider had led Moolman-Pasio and Wiggle HIGH5’s Elisa Longo Borghini across to the day’s breakaway group, catching the group of 11-riders shortly after the Strava Queen of the Mountains climb of Bank Road in Matlock.

Those eleven, who went clear after the feed zone and around 47-kilometres of racing, included the likes of Hannah Barnes, Chantal Blaak and Australian national champion Amanda Spratt, who went on to finish fourth.

Interview – Katie Hall QoM Stage 3 AVIVA Womens Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Post Race media conference with Katie Hall Queen of the Mountains at the end of Stage 3 of the AVIVA Womens Tour 2016. #AVIVA2016

Lizzie Armitstead Yellow Stage 3 Winner Women’s Tour 2016 Interview by Cycling Shorts

Lizzie Armitstead takes control of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 on Stage 3, Lizzies chats to the media.

While the break were working well together, they were powerless to stop the pursuit of Armitstead, Moolman-Pasio and Longo Borghini, with the trio making the junction after the summit of Bank Road having gone clear on the flatter valley roads following the Chain Reaction Cycles Sprint at Darley Dale.

Having missed the move, Vos and her Rabo Liv team chased hard, but with around 15-kilometres to go Armitstead attacked again, at first joined by just Moolman-Pasio before Longo Borghini and Spratt also made the junction.

The quartet worked well to hold off the chasing Rabo Liv, whose pursuit saw the remnants of the breakaway caught, allowing them to contest the finish in Chesterfield’s Market Place, with Armitstead leading out the sprint to take victory, her second ever stage win in the Aviva Women’ Tour.

Behind Vos outsprinted Armitstead’s Boels Dolmans teammate Amalie Dideriksen for fifth, ahead of Leah Kirchmann and Giorgia Bronzini.

In addition to the Aviva Yellow Jersey and a five second lead overall, Armitstead also retained the Adnams Best British Rider Jersey, with Dani King her nearest challenger in that competition, 47-seconds back in 15th overall.

Despite losing yellow Marianne Vos retains the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, 11-points clear of Stage One winner Christine Majerus,

with Vos’ compatriot Floortje Maackaij holding a 34-second lead in the Best Young Rider classification presented by Stoke-on-Trent, European City of Sport.

Armitstead: Going into the race our plan was we wanted a girl in the front group and I would jump across on that climb [Bank Road, Matlock].

We knew Moolman [Ashleigh] would probably be aggressive, cos she has been in previous races and shes got a kick. So we expected her to launch an attack. I didn’t expect it to go from the bottom! But she did.

I had a good lead-out from Ellen [Van Dyke] and Christine [Majerus] right into the bottom of the climb, so I was really well positioned.

I didn’t follow Ashleigh’s attack initially because I thought if I follow that acceleration, I’d blow-up.

I knew from peoples advice that it was a long steep climb, so I held them at twenty metres and crawled my way back up to them and got over the top with them. Then it was a bit of a slog to get up to the breakaway.

When I arrived, Chantal [Blaak] did some more work on the front and took us as far as she could.

I attacked them to bring the strongest girls in the race away, that was the idea!

Having been in the day’s 11-rider move, Katie Hall led the race across both Strava Queen of the Mountains climbs at Winster and Matlock to take a 14-point lead over Ilona Hoeksma.

For full results and standings following Stage Three, please click here.

Stage Four sees the penultimate stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour head from Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent, which is celebrating its status as European City of Sport for 2016.  The stage departs from Nottingham’s Old Market Square passing via Swadlincote, Burton-upon-Trent and Uttoxeter before a run through the hills of the Staffordshire Moorlands to finish in Stoke-on-Trent city centre.

For more information on Stage Four, please click here.

Amateur cyclists can also ride part of the Aviva Women’s Tour route this year in the Tour Ride Northamptonshire, the official sportive of the Aviva Women’s Tour.  Taking place one month after the final stage, on Sunday 17 July, 40 and 80-mile routes starting and finishing from Delapre Abbey in Northampton will take place using sections of the Stage Five route, while there is also a fun, off-road 10-mile route for families. To sign-up head to www.tourride.co.uk

 

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Marianne Vos Takes Yellow – Stage 2 Womens Tour 2016 Report

Marianne Vos returned to the Aviva Yellow Jersey, 26-months after she won the race, pulling on the leader’s jersey in Stratford-upon-Avon after her third placed finish behind Amy Pieters moved her into the overall lead.

The Wiggle HIGH5 rider sprinted to victory in the centre of Stratford at the end of a 140-kilometre stage through Warwickshire, heading home a 27-rider group soaked by heavy rain showers throughout the stage.

“It was a hard day, a lot of rain and some quite steep hills. We did a really good job with the team, we have such a strong team here this week so we can play a lot of cards and I’m really glad that I could finish it today,” said Pieters following the stage.

“We want to win always it’s the most important thing, and we are so strong with our team …we stayed calm and raced well and we got it so I hope we can have more wins this week.”

Marianne Vos now holds a three-second lead over Majerus, with Pieters a further four seconds back after commissaires overnight annulled the time gaps from the Stage One finish on review of the final three kilometres, resetting the race going into the Warwickshire stage.

Looking ahead to the next two day’s stages, Vos said; “They look pretty tough, today was not as tough as the upcoming days but already we felt it in the legs a little bit, it was a long stage.  I think tomorrow it’s going to be even more aggressive.

Interview – Marianne Vos Stage2 Aviva Womens Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Marianne Vos talks to the press after taking control of the Yellow Jersey in Stage 2 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016.

“From tomorrow onwards the longer climbs come in, so I definitely think it can split up the field.”

The reigning Olympic Road Race Champion won the inaugural Women’s Tour in 2014, but missed last year’s edition through injury.  Questioned as to whether she can hold the Aviva Yellow Jersey, her reply was categoric.

“I have no idea!  Of course it’s nice to be in the yellow jersey, it gives some confidence and motivation for the next days, so I’ll definitely try but there are some good competitors in contention.

“To be here in such a top class field and in the jersey is of course a good feeling, but we’re only on the second day so I will take it day by day.”

Despite often inclement weather conditions the stage was another fast paced affair, with lots of attacking riding, no rider more so than Ale Cipollini’s Emilia Fahlin, who was twice away in moves off the front of the race, the second time alone.

The Swede was caught on the first Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Burton Dassett, with Amalie Dideriksen and Malgorzata Jasinska the next duo to stay away, building a gap of 50-seconds, which was steadily whittled down by the speeding bunch.

The pair were caught by the small lead group with less than 20-kilometres of racing remaining and despite a flurry of attacks on the run in, the leaders hit the final kilometre together, with Pieters pipping Brennauer by the narrowest of margins.

Marianne Vos also moves into the lead of the Chain Reaction Cycles Points classification, with a three-point lead over Majerus, who is then ten-points clear of Pieters.

Lizzie Armitstead finished safely in the front group in 18th to remain the highest placed British rider overall in the Adnams Best British Rider jersey

The Strava Queen of the Mountains jersey also changed hands, moving to UnitedHealthcare’s Katie Hall, two points ahead of Ilona Hoeksma.

Her compatriot Floortje Mackaij retains the Best Young Rider jersey presented by Stoke-on-Trent, European City of Sport 2016, but is equal on time with Danish champion Dideriksen and Brit Molly Weaver, the trio 1-minute 03-seconds up on the fourth placed young rider.

For full results and standings following Stage Two, please click here.

Highlights of Stage Two will be shown on ITV4 at 21:00 on Thursday 16 June, with a repeat on Friday afternoon at 12:35.  The programme will also be available on demand via the ITV Hub catch-up service for 30-days.

Stage Three sees the Aviva Women’s Tour head to Derbyshire and into the Peak District National Park, heading from Ashbourne to Chesterfield and including the mid-stage climb of Bank Road in Matlock, which later this year will play host to the National Hill Climb Championships.

For more information on Stage Three, please click here.

All images copyright www.chrismaher.co.uk | CyclingShorts.cc

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