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.

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.

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