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“I went away straight away, so I just committed. Obviously I know the descents quite well as well so I tried to take a good advantage of that and got a good gap."

Photo: Sirotti

TOUR OF BRITAIN

RACE PROFILE
|
NEWS
06.09.2016 @ 21:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Ian Stannard (Sky) showed his impressive strength as he grabbed a rare chance to ride for himself by claiming a solo win on the tough stage 4 of the Tour of Britain. Having made it into the early break, he made a brave solo move with 40km to go and then time trialled to one of the most impressive victories in the British race before Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) beat Kristian House (ONE) in the sprint for second. The GC riders had an easy day and so Julien Vermote (Etixx-QuickStep) retained the lead.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Ian Stannard: I took advantage of my local knowledge

Ian Stannard took an emphatic solo victory following a long-range attack on stage three at the Tour of Britain.

 

The Team Sky Brit put his local knowledge to great use with a powerhouse ride, making the day's early four-man break, before pushing clear of his rivals with 40 kilometres to go.

 

Stannard pushed out his advantage and had plenty of time to celebrate, crossing the line in Tatton Park with a winning advantage of one minute and 46 seconds.

 

Danny van Poppel also bagged a top five, crossing the line second in the big bunch sprint that followed, some 5:43 down.

 

Elsewhere the general classification picture remained fairly stable, with Ben Swift moving up to fourth place overall, 1:08 back on the yellow jersey of Julien Vermote (Etixx - Quick-Step). Nicolas Roche continued a strong and combative race as he looked to rack up more KOM points on the climbs, and also remains 10th overall.

 

After the stage a very happy Stannard explained: "It was a big day on home roads and I was pretty motivated for the stage. I was keen to get away in the break.

 

"It's always nice to win from a breakaway - solo as well - so I'm really happy about that. I knew over the climb we had about five minutes and that gave us a chance on the run-in. I heard it went out but I didn't know much more. I was just happy to be up there."

 

"There were some really awesome crowds out today and the roads were packed on all the climbs. It's really great to see people get behind the race and it makes it all the more special racing at home.

 

“I was motivated to get in the break, I’ve been living on these roads since I was 18. I didn’t expect the break to go quite so easily.

 

“We are going for stage wins and I think we knew there was a bit of a chance of the breakaway staying away today with the climbs and the sprinters not quite sure how hard they are.

 

“I rode quite hard quite early to try and establish that gap because I knew Jack Bauer was behind. He’s fairly close on GC still so I didn’t really want him in the group.

 

“I kind of felt it a little bit when we got on the climbs. I thought I’ll go early and keep hitting them to try and break them up a bit.

 

“I went away straight away, so I just committed. Obviously I know the descents quite well as well so I tried to take a good advantage of that and got a good gap.

 

“You know how hard the climbs are and how to judge your efforts a bit more, certainly the blind corners you know how fast you can take them and that’s a big advantage.”

“It’s nice, there was massive crowds out today and it was nice to do a really good ride,” he said.

 

In-form Ramon Sinkeldam takes points jersey in Tour of Britain

Tom Dumoulin held firm on the overall classification at the Tour of Britain after the breakaway contested the stage victory. Ramon Sinkeldam took 6th place in the sprintand  is the new leader in the points classification. Dumoulin finished safely in the bunch and remains in 9th place, 1’12” behind the overall leader Julien Vermonte (Etixx- Quick Step).

 

Ramon Sinkeldam said after the stage: “I felt good during the whole stage. However, I doubted to sprint because it was not for the victory anymore. In the end, I’m pleased that we still went for it with the team. I did a good sprint and I also took the lead in the points classification.”

 

Coach Marc Reef added: “The goal for today was to sprint with Ramon and to see if there were any opportunities to be in the breakaway. The escapees managed to have a gap of almost seven minutes and the sprint teams didn’t cooperate well to close the advantage. In the bunch finish, we still sprinted with Ramon who took another top 10 finish.”

 

Rick Zabel gains confidence from good sprint in Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain Stage 3 was one for the breakaway as Ian Stannard (Team Sky) took victory after riding solo over the final 40km of the day before Rick Zabel was part of the bunch sprint from the peloton behind to take eighth place which saw Zabel land BMC Racing Team their first top ten finish at the Avivia Tour of Britain.

 

With no change on the General Classification after today’s stage, Rohan Dennis remains BMC Racing Team’s highest placed rider in 12th place overall, 1 minute 17 seconds behind the current race leader Julien Vermote (Ettix - Quick Step).

 

Rick Zabel said:

 

“I feel fairly happy with my sprint in the end today. The break went early today with four really strong riders but as they weren’t a threat to the GC they were allowed to stay out in front, although I don’t think we expected them to go all the way.

 

“When the peloton realised that the break was going to go all the way it sat up a little to save energy I think. In the end a sprint for fourth is never the same as one for the win but nevertheless the last 5km were definitely fast and hectic. I felt okay today so gave it a go and finishing fifth from the sprint between the peloton riders is not bad.

 

“There are still five days to go at this race and every day will be hard but we are just going to take it day by day and see what opportunities arise. It is a good peloton here but we also have a strong team and we are riding without any stress so that will definitely help us to keep motivated and keep trying to make some good results.”

 

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said:

 

"We saw that today’s stage had bigger roads and more gradual climbs and we thought, like most teams I think, that it would be a field sprint. A handful of guys went away and we thought that teams would unite to close the gap for the final but that never happened and in fact the climbs were harder than expected. It was a strong group that stayed away and when the peloton realised that they would be able to make it to the line there didn’t seem to be a lot of motivation behind to chase. Rick got a top ten which was in the end was a good result for us. I don’t think it was by any means an easy day for the peloton. It was still a hard stage even though it might have looked monotonous but I'm sure all our guys will be ready for another day of racing tomorrow." 

 

Orica-BikeExchange: It was a Mexican stand off

The third stage of the Tour of Britain was animated with an early breakaway of four riders successfully staying away until the finish line after the challenging 179kilometre stage.

 

All six of the ORICA-BikeExchange team made it through the hilly day safely in the main peloton with Luka Mezgec the highest place finisher sprinting in to tenth.

 

“We were hoping for a bunch sprint today but there wasn’t much cohesion from the rest of the sprinters teams,“ said sport director Matt Wilson. “It ended up with a bit of a Mexican stand off and that was it, the leaders stayed away.

 

“It’s a bit of a shame we didn’t end with a sprint but tomorrow is another day and hopefully we can keep it together in the final for a sprint.” 

 

Dimension Data focused on GC with Cummings, not stage wins with Cavendish

After yesterday’s tough stage where Steve Cumming’s rode brilliantly to 2nd place, Dimension Data were looking to protect Cummings’ strong position on the overall GC during today’s unpredictable stage.

 

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka started the stage at the head of the peloton and were happy to see 4 riders make the break of the day. With none of the breakaway riders a threat on the general classification, the were happy to ride tempo with Etixx-Quickstep for the better part of the stage. As the gap hit 6 minutes there was thought that the other sprint teams might come to assist with the chase but there didn’t seem to be much interest from the other teams.

 

Jay Thomson and Johann van Zyl continued to eat up the kilometers at the front of the peloton with Cummings’ and Mark Cavendish well protected through the hilly part of the stage. The African Team policed the main pack home along with Etixx-Quickstep with Cummings’ still safely in 2nd place overall.

 

Jay Thomson said:

 

”Today’s first priority was to protect Steve’s GC position after his super ride yesterday. We rode just to keep the break in check and would’ve have committed to go for the stage if it was right but no other teams wanted to spend the energy to bring the break back. They were looking at us to do it, with a lot of hard day’s coming we need to make sure we keep everything in the tank that we can to help Steve. So we were happy with the situation today. Obviously it is always great if we can go for the stage win with Cav but we are thinking of the bigger picture here. More opportunities will come our way this week and we will be sure to take them.”

 

LottoNL-Jumbo frustrated not to get any help on strange day in Tour of Britain

LottoNL-Jumbo rider Dylan Groenewegen finished 21st in the third stage of the Tour of Britain today in Knutsford. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) dominated the 180-kilometre stage and Julian Vermote (Etixx – Quick Step) kept the overall lead with only six seconds on Steve Cummings (Dimension Data).

 

Stannard went on the attack with three British compatriots from the start in Congleton. When the foursome took a strong lead, Vermote’s team began the chase with help from Cavendish’s Dimension Data team and LottoNL-Jumbo.

 

"We wanted to get over the mountains and sprint with Dylan Groenewegen," said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. "We helped in the chase, but suddenly Dimension Data stopped their effort and other teams with sprinters didn’t try at all."

 

With 40 kilometers from the finish, Stannard dropped his compatriots and rode to an impressive solo win in Knutsford.

 

"The race was over for us when the teams stopped working," Zeeman added. "We must look forward and not back. Tomorrow is the longest and arguably the toughest ride of the tour. It runs all the way through Wales with many metres of climbing. Tomorrow, we’ll try to go for it again. “

 

Julien Vermote hopes to defend jersey on longest stage in Tour of Britain

A smiling Julien Vermote lined out in Congleton for the start of Tour of Britain's third day, another difficult one on paper, with three testing climbs jammed in the second half of the course. Etixx – Quick-Step rolled out from the start area without trainee Adrien Costa, who was forced to abandon the race as a result of the injuries he sustained on Monday, but even in five, the team made its way to the front of the peloton once a breakaway went clear, making sure it won't turn into a threat for Julien's yellow jersey.

 

Graham Briggs (JLT Condor), Kristian House (ONE Pro Cycling), Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) were the four escapees who animated the day, and Stannard proved to be strongest, attacking in the final part of the stage and taking a solo win. Tony Martin was the one to set the tempo in the pack for the vast majority of time, as Etixx – Quick-Step dutifully protected Julien Vermote throughout the day. The only hitch of the stage was a puncture he had in the last 50 kilometers, but Dan Martin and the rest of his teammates paced the 27-year-old back in the bunch.

 

In the GC, Vermote continues to have a 6-second cushion over Steven Cummings (Dimension Data), with Dan Martin rounding out the podium. The first Belgian in 11 years to top the Tour of Britain overall standings, Vermote shared his thoughts on the day spent in yellow and the upcoming stage 4, the longest one of this edition (Denbigh – Builth Wells, 218 kilometers).

 

”I'm still leading the general classification and I owe this to our strong team. The guys did a fantastic job and I have to thank them for bringing me safe home. It was a hard parcours, but we took it easy, because the riders in the escape were a long way down in the standings", said a happy Vermote in Tatton Park. "I enjoyed this day. Not only wearing yellow was great, but also having all these incredible fans cheering us from start to finish. Concerning tomorrow, it's difficult to say what will happen in that long and challenging stage, but what's certain is that we will try to defend the jersey."

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