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In a big sprint in London, Kittel narrowly held off Cavendish and Ruffoni to take his second stage win in the Tour of Britain; van Baarle finished safely in the bunch and won the race overall

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BRADLEY WIGGINS

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DYLAN VAN BAARLE

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EF EDUCATION - EASYPOST

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MARCEL KITTEL

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MARK CAVENDISH

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MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOUR OF BRITAIN

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15.09.2014 @ 00:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) confirmed his status as the fastest rider in the world when he won a close battle with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in the big bunch sprint that brought the Tour of Britain to an end. Dylan van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp) got safely through the circuit race in London and became a surprise winner of the British race, relegating Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) to the minor podium positons.

 

With lots of hilly stages, the Tour of Britain has been a hard race for Marcel Kittel who has not had a single chance to sprint since he won the opening circuit race in Liverpool one week ago. However, he always had an incentive to stay in the race as it ended with another flat circuit race in London.

 

Everyone was looking forward to the big battle between Kittel and local hero Mark Cavendish and when the early break was caught, all was set for the highly anticipated clash. It was Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who went through the final turn with Kittel and Cavendish on his wheel.

 

From there, Kittel launched his sprint but Cavendish briefly seemed to be the fastest, moving up alongside the German. However, Kittel had an extra gear and in the final few metres, he again gained a bit of ground, crossing the line just a few centimetres ahead of his British rival and sprint revelation Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani).

 

The race ended with an 88.8km flat circuit race in London that had no major technical challenges and was destined to end in a bunch sprint. The riders took the start under beautiful sunny conditions that made it a beautiful end to the biggest British race.

 

Right from the start, Mark McNally (An Post), James Lowsley Williams (NFTO), Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and Paul Voss (NetApp) got clear.  It briefly seemed as though the break had gone clear but BMC brought it back to protect Sebastian Lander’s win in the sprints competition.

 

Voss and Dowsett went again and they were joined by Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff), Rob Partridge (Giordana), Ryan Mullen (An Post) and Jan Barta (NetApp) . At the first passage of the line, they were 12 seconds ahead but BMC were chasing hard with Stephen Cummings who got assistance from Lasse Norman (Garmin).

 

Lander also contributed to the work and as Giant-Shimano now also started to chase with Tom Stamsnijder, the break was brought back with 75km to go. This opened the door for Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) to go and he was joined by Barta.

 

Boaro also bridged the gap and those three riders managed to build an advantage of 10 seconds. With 66km to go, however, the time trialling trio was brought back and so new attacks were launched.

 

Tinkoff-Saxo, Movistar and Bardiani were part of the next move and when they were back in the fold, Novo Nordisk gave it a go. He had no success either and instead McNally, Christopher Latham (Great Britain) and Barta got clear.

 

Cummings and Liam Holohan (Madison) bridged the gap and now the peloton finally took a short breather. While Garmin was riding on the front, the gap went up to 35 seconds behind OPQS started to chase with Michal Golas.

 

The Pole was joined by Jerome Pineau (IAM) and moments later Stamsnijder also hit the front. For a long time, those three riders kept the gap stable at around 30 seconds as the peloton was reluctant to allow them too much leeway.

 

With 47km to go, McNally crashed out of the breakaway and moments later Cummings and Barta sprinted at the first intermediate sprint. The Brit won the battle, with Holohan rolling across the line in third.

 

The peloton had brought the gap down to 18 seconds but they decided to slow down, allowing the escapees to reopen their advantage to 30 seconds. With 25km to go, MTN-Qhubeka started to attack from the peloton and it was the second move by Andreas Stauff that worked.

 

The German bridged across to the escapee while Cummings and Barta decided to sit up. Pineau, Golas and Stamsnijder went back to work to keep the gap to the new front trio stable at around 30 seconds.

 

With 11km to go, the gap was only 20 seconds and now Holohan fell off the pace. Stamsnijder had now blown up and moments later all the work was left to Golas.

 

He got some assistance from Dylan Grindlestone (Garmin) and those two rider brought the break back with 7km to go. Now Garmin hit the front with Norman before Tinkoff-Saxo took over with 5km to go.

 

The battle for position was intense but it seemed that OPQS had won the battle when they lined its train out on the front. However, they were passed by Giant-Shimano as they went under the red kite.

 

Tom Veelers made his lead-out but was passed by Renshaw. However, Cavendish had preferred to stay on Kittel’s wheel and when Renshaw had swung off, the battle between the giants unfolded.

 

Dylan van Baarle finished safely in the bunch to win the race overall, with Michal Kwiatkowski and Bradley Wiggins completing the podium. Kwiatkowski won the points competition, McNally earned the prize as best climber while IAM was the strongest team in the race.

 

Many of the riders from the British race will now recover in the next week before they travel to Spain for the World Championships.

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