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"I was fairly happy with how I did in the time trial and I was the quickest on the climb so we took a little bit of confidence out of that and as a team we discussed that if I could go for it on that final climb I would."

Photo: Tim De Waele/TDW Sport


10.09.2016 @ 23:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) won the morning time trial and Rohan Dennis (BMC) denied the sprinters with a late attack in the afternoon stage on day 7 at the Tour of Britain. Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) retained the lead.


We have gathered several reactions.


Tony Martin: To beat Dennis and Dumoulin is a huge confidence boost for the Worlds

Eight months since Etixx – Quick-Step's maiden success of the year, which came on the opening day of the Tour de San Luis, in the team time trial, our squad scored win number 50, also in a race against the clock, but this time in the Northern Hemisphere, at the Tour of Britain, where Etixx – Quick-Step holds the record for the most stage victories (20). Tony Martin was the one to take center stage on Saturday, on the streets of Bristol, where the race scheduled a 15-km long individual time trial.


The weather didn't play into the riders' advantage on stage 7a, as the rain made for some slippery roads, but that didn't stop Martin from racing one of his best time trials of the year. The German national champion, who rode this week in support of Julien Vermote while his Belgian teammate held the yellow jersey, headed down the ramp after doing a recon early in the morning and put in the big watts right from the start, going through the halfway mark one second faster than provisional leader Alex Dowsett (Movistar).


On the second part of the course, which included some rolling segments, Tony Martin continued to ride at a blistering pace, negotiated the corners and descents with huge confidence and smashed the Brit's time at the finish, where he was clocked up in 18:06. At the end of the day, the 31-year-old German Champion was three, respectively five seconds faster than Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), who rounded out the podium. Another Etixx – Quick-Step rider, Julien Vermote, who won stage 2 and led the race for four days, posted a good time thanks to which he made his way back to the top 10 overall.


"In this peloton you have the world's best time trialists, so it really makes it special for me. It's also my first victory in the Tour of Britain, so it's definitely a victory to remember,” he said.

"The course was really nice but the rain and wet roads made it a little bit dangerous because you have to fight for every second. I did a good recon and knew the corners quite well so knew how fast I could go, so for me it was fine.


“I didn't really expect to be going so fast as the week has been quite hard for us, we had the jersey until yesterday and had to work a lot, so I didn't feel fresh. But sometimes when you don't expect a good performance you do even better, so I'm really happy. It's my first international victory of the year so gives me a lot of morale.


Richeze agonizingly close to victory in Britian

Four hours after teammate Tony Martin took Etixx – Quick-Step's victory tally to 50 in the 2016 season, Maximiliano Richeze came into the spotlight with a powerful sprint, which netted him second behind Rohan Dennis (BMC), who managed to hold off the field for a solo success in stage 7b of the British race (Bristol – Bristol, 90 kilometers). The Australian attacked on the last climb, just as the pack was reeling in the escapees, and crossed the line ahead of a reduced peloton, from which 33-year-old Richeze proved to be the fastest.


Guided by Tony Martin, Julien Vermote finished safely, just 10 seconds adrift, and kept his 9th place in the overall standings, with just one day left of this year's edition. Vermote, who pulled off a spectacular win earlier in the week, talked of Etixx – Quick-Step's remarkable day at the Tour of Britain:


"It's been a really good Saturday for us. Tony took the ITT victory in the noon and now Max came close of winning the stage. It's a pity he didn't finish first, as he really deserved to win, but Rohan was stronger today, so that's that. Tomorrow another day awaits and we will try to be again up there."

Strong morning time trial gave Rohan Dennis confidence to surprise the sprinters

Tour of Britain Stage 7 was a tale of two parts with riders tackling both an individual time trial as well as a circuit race through the centre of Bristol and saw Dennis put in two strong performances to move into second overall on the General Classification.  


Dennis was one of the final riders to roll off the ramp to start the time trial and was quickly able to find his rhythm, setting the fastest time at the intermediate check point. 


The Australian time trial champion was able to hold his form over the second half of the course and stopped the clock at 18:09 with only the time set by Tony Martin (Etixx - Quick Step) able to deny him a spot on the podium. 


With another second place finish, Dennis further cemented his place at the top of the General Classification and inched closer to race leader Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data), sitting 38 seconds back alongside Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant Alepcin). 


Taylor Phinney also started strongly over the 14.2km time trial course and set a competitive time at the first intermediate time check point but an unfortunate crash on the slippery roads saw him eventually cross the line just outside of the top ten in eleventh place, 40 seconds behind the stage winner Martin. 


With the time trial wrapped up, the focus shifted to the day's 90km road race. With all the riders aware of what was to come over the circuit, the racing was aggressive as soon as the flag was dropped. 


Late attacks from the breakaway group saw the peloton have to wait until inside the final 4km to catch the remaining breakaway riders before heading onto the last ascent up Bridge Valley Road and the run in to the line.  


With less than one second separating him from Dumoulin after the earlier time trial, Dennis made an impressive move off the front of the re-grouped peloton on the final slopes of this climb. 


Dennis then dug deep to ride solo over the final kilometers of the day to take victory as well as six bonus seconds which saw him move up into second on the General Classification, 26 seconds behind Cummings with only one stage remaining. 


"I feel pretty good,” he said. “Obviously it's great to win and the team has worked for me all week which I am thankful for. I think in hindsight we had to throw everything at a few stages early on and we probably have to say that the GC is done and dusted but the team worked well for me today again and I am glad that I could pull it off at the finish line and finally get that win.


"As a team we have been knocking on door this week and coming second again in the time trial was a bit frustrating so it is definitely a good feeling that the team got that win and now we can walk away from the race knowing we have done everything we could to win."


"It's been really hard race this week and I think most days I have tried to open the race up and put myself in the best place to win and I think I really showed that today as well but if you don't try, you won't win.


"I was fairly happy with how I did in the time trial and I was the quickest on the climb so we took a little bit of confidence out of that and as a team we discussed that if I could go for it on that final climb I would.


"I haven't ridden double stages consistently since I raced U23 back in 2010 so refocusing wasn't easy and actually over the first lap a lot of the GC guys actually got caught up when the peloton split. So, in the end it was actually a stage that once you were in there you couldn't take it easy or you could have lost the GC.


"Coming into the second part of today I wanted to go all or nothing but at the beginning of the race I wasn't feeling too keen to go for it but when you get towards that point and everyone is fighting and the team is pushing you up and you feel like you have the legs, you tend to switch on mentally and that's when I started to play it by feel. When Dumoulin slowed down a bit I thought now is the time to attack and thankfully I was able to hold on to it.


"Tomorrow should be straight forward but sometimes when you know that and you know it is going to be a sprint you switch off mentally and that can be dangerous. The main thing we have to do is stay on it and not relax too much and as we have done all week if we see an opportunity to something with any of our riders we will take it.


"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."


Sports Director Jackson Stewart said:


"It was actually really helpful that we had the time trial before the circuit race. it was wet in the morning and we did a lap to check out the TT and for me, the course was a little bit more technical that I had pictured with a fast descent and a decent climb. With that in mind and with the weather, we didn't want to take a lot of risks, at least Rohan didn't looking at the objectives for the rest of the season and as we knew it was a tough ask to take first on GC."


"Rohan took it cautiously, unlike Phinney who went full gas and had a bit of the spill but thankfully he was alright. What we saw though was that on the second half of the time trial the effort Rohan put in on the climb was unmatched by anyone so heading into the circuit race we said that if he felt like he could do it, he would give it the same power and we believed he could win with that. Luckily he didn't have to do it alone and the team were able to move him up into position. Plus Lotto Soudal and Dumoulin tried to make it hard early and I think that set him up pretty well. He rode really smart today and timed it perfectly in the end.


"Across the board at every race the team have been riding well but until you get that win it almost feels like you haven't proved it so it's a great feeling for us here. Tomorrow is traditionally a sprint and I think we will probably see a fast race and one easy to control for the sprinter's teams but we will see what could happen." 


No glory for Dumoulin in British time trial

The general classification got even tighter after this morning’s individual time trial where Tom Dumoulin raced to third place on the stage, putting time into the yellow jersey. He finished with a time of 18’11”, just five seconds down on the stage winner over the 15km route.


Dumoulin paced his effort well but with several other time trial specialists going up against him, together with the hard effort of yesterday’s stage 6 uphill finish, meant he couldn’t quite crack the top spot of the podium on the stage.


Strong rides from the two young stagiaires in the team saw Jochem Hoekstra finish 13th and Martijn Tusveld 15th respectively.


“It was very good TT efforts from the whole team today,” explained coach Marc Reef after the first split stage. “Martijn took 15th despite having problems in his preparation, and Jochem rode a technically good race to finish 13th. Tom had a strong ride to finish third behind Martin and Dennis and he remains second in GC.”


Dumoulin tried his luck to attempt to break clear in the afternoon but he had to settle for a finish within the select lead group on the line, crossing the line just in 18th place. As the road turned upwards with just over two kilometres to go, he dug deep and got a small gap but he was countered by Denniswho went on to stay clear by a handful of seconds, moving ahead of Dumoulin by the end of the stage. Dumoulin now sits in third overall, 38″ off the lead, with tomorrow’s final circuit race in London to come.

Marc Reef said after the stage: “It was a short 90km stage this afternoon on a hard 15km circuit. From the start the race was on and it continued to the finish. There was a four man break that took a maximum of 1’40” and the bunch brought them back on the last lap.


“Towards the final hill the team brought Tom up into position. Tom made his move, but Dennis was the strongest. He attacked and held it to the line. Tom finished in a group behind and now sits third on GC.”


Groenewegen surprised to sprint for second place on difficult stage in the Tour of Britain

Dylan Groenewegen finished third in the short stage, number seven, of the Tour of Britain today. Rohan Dennis (BMC) won the 90-kilometres stage in Bristol. Groenewegen was beaten by Max Richeze (Etixx - Quickstep) in the sprint. Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) maintained his overall lead with one day left.

It was a long day for the riders in the Tour of Britain because it began with a 15-kilometre time trial in the morning. Tony Martin (Etixx - Quickstep) won. Two hours later, stage 7B ran on the same road. From the start a group with André Greipel (Lotto - Soudal) broke away. They were caught, but Dennis attacked and won.


"It was a good achievement by Dylan Groenewegen," said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. "In the morning, everyone saw in the time trial how difficult this circuit was. We doubted then whether Dylan would be in the finale or be able to sprint. He is still a young rider in full development.


“The top of the climb was two kilometres from the finish, 7% and one kilometre long. When Dennis and Dumoulin attack, you know it is going be very hard."


Groenewegen’s team-mates were impressed with his ride and third place. They did not have chase because Team Sky did so, so they saved their legs for another sprint opportunity tomorrow.


Groenewegen said:


"I tried to survive that hard climb every time we passed it on the circuit and to concentrate on the final sprint. When the leading group was brought back, I knew the favourites would attack. Dennis got away, but on top of the climb, I still hung in there. I caught my breath and readied for the sprint, but Richeze got me.”

Tomorrow the Tour of Britain ends with a criterium in London. Again, Team LottoNL-Jumbo will take the chance to sprint for Groenewegen.


Cummings: I limited my losses well

Steve Cummings has successfully defended the Yellow Jersey and with it the overall lead at the Tour of Britain. He came 4th in the morning time trial in Bristol and finished safely in the peloton in the afternoon stage.


Cummings went into the day with a 49sec lead over Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). And the Dutch clocked a fast time on the 15km course that was tricky to ride due to wet conditions. However, his time wouldn’t be enough to take the win on the day. Rohan Dennis (BMC) was 2sec faster, but it was Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) who would win his first international TT this year. The German covered the course in 18.06min. Cummings finished 4th, 16sec down on Martin. His time was enough to defend the lead.


With the gaps being under 1min for his closest rivals in the GC Cummings had to stay alert in the afternoon stage. On the last incline of the stage Rohan Dennis attacked and got a gap. He held on to it and crossed the line 6sec ahead of the peloton. The Australian managed to move up to 2nd overall, 26sec behind Cummings who rode attentively to keep the Yellow Jersey with one stage to go. The Tour of Britain will conclude tomorrow in London.


Steve Cummings said:


”The TT was very tricky but I’m happy with how it went for me. The roads were wet and there were a lot of grids and white lines. I did the corners with caution and put the power down when I could. The afternoon stage was not much easier. The was a very tough final climb. After a hard week of racing it sure made for an exciting final. I’m happy that I could limit my losses and I’m very grateful to the whole team for the work they did for me all week.


"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."


Sky with two riders in the top 10 in Tour of Britain

Nicolas Roche and Ben Swift hold sixth and eighth places overall respectively following a Tour of Britain double-header in Bristol.


Stage seven was split in two, with a morning time trial and afternoon circuit race all based around the same tough course.


Roche used the 15km time trial to elevate himself one place into sixth, and sits one minute and 26 seconds back on leader Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) heading into the London finale. Tony Martin (Etixx - Quick-Step) secured the early stage win by a margin of three seconds.


Swift also put in a solid time against the clock to retain his GC place, and backed that up with 12th place overall in the sprint to round out the day.


Danny van Poppel bagged fourth in that same bunch kick, but the stage win went to Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), who chipped clear on the final rise to lead the pack home by six seconds.


Team Sky worked hard to bring back the four-man break across the six laps, with Ian Stannard and Elia Viviani putting in big turns.


Good day for Movistar in Tour of Britain

The Movistar Team was closer than ever to success in the race thanks to two separate good efforts in the time trial of Gorka Izaguirre (6th) and Alex Dowsett (7th) , with Jorge Arcas in a remarkable 14th. The team again looked to surprise with Izaguirre in the escape in the afternoon stage.


Ewan pays for attempt to follow Dennis on tough stage in Tour of Britain

The penultimate day of the Tour of Britain was split in two with a morning 14.2kilometre individual time trial followed by a short, fast 90kilometre circuit race in the afternoon.


In the morning all ORICA-BikeExchange riders completed the event safety, but with the real focus on the potential sprint stage to follow, the team used the race as recovery and preparation for their real chance in the afternoon. 


Alex Edmondson finished the highest for ORICA-BikeExchange in the timed event in 36th spot. Then in the afternoon, Luka Mezgec sprinted into seventh place after a late attack by Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) denied the peloton of much wanted sprint finish taking the stage victory for BMC.


“The race today was a bit disappointing for us,” explained sport director Matt Wilson. "We tried to control the race and we weren’t quite sure whether it would be a bunch sprint or not. We knew we would be on the limit over the final climb.


“It actually wasn’t that hard for Caleb Ewan, he had good legs and he just tried to go with Dennis when he attacked, just missed it then that really finished him off. Dennis was super strong in the final today.


“Overall it was a really good team ride, everything went well and Rob Power did an amazing job. He had a puncture half-way through but got straight back in to the race and straight back to the front again to chase. 


“Michael Hepburn had to have a bike change which effected his day today but overall really good effort from everybody. Tomorrow is another circuit race and I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t a bunch sprint."


ONE close to the top 10 in Tour of Britain

For ONE, Hayden McCormick and Dion Smith were both going well through the first intermediate time check, however both crashed on the same left hand corner on the super greasy roads and manhole covers which were situated on the exit to the corners. However both riders re-mounted quickly and finished with very reasonable times.


Karol Domagalski powered his way around the time trial course in 19’12”, crossing the line in 6th at the point of finishing. Pete Williams did an excellent ride around the 14.2km course crossing the line in 19’07” to record ONE Pro Cycling’s best time of the day and secure 22nd place. 


With just two hours recovery in between races it was a short turn around for the peloton as they headed back out onto the circuit around Bristol for the 90km road race..


As the neutralised flag dropped it took around 5km for a break of four to establish. Karol Domagalski spotted the danger and in a valiant effort tried to bridge across to the leaders as the peloton sat up.


Unfortunately Domagalski got within 18 seconds of the leaders but wasn’t able to close the gap. As he started to lose time to the four leaders who were working well together, he made the decision to drop back to the peloton before spending too much time in ‘no mans’ land.


The breakaway were being held at just over the minute mark and heading into the final lap they were hovering at a slender 49 seconds. Unfortunately a mechanical for Steele Von Hoff on the fast descent saw him having to chase hard. Karol Domagalski, Pete Williams and Hayden McCormick waited and worked with the Australian sprinter to try and place him back at the front of the race, whilst Dion Smith held position at the front of the peloton.


Von Hoff’s efforts saw him go too far into the red and he was distanced along with many other riders on the climb. Dion Smith however had held position well and when the sprint opened up crossed the line in a very credible 11th position.



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