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“I won in Yorkshire and I’ve won here too. Today was a very hard stage with all the climbs, and it was very long, so I knew there was only a small chance I could fight for it."

Photo: Team LottoNL-Jumbo

TOUR OF BRITAIN

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
07.09.2016 @ 23:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) continued his dream start to his WorldTour career by claiming a huge win on the very hard stage 4 of the Tour of Britain. After an excellent lead-out from Tom Leezer, he narrowly held Daniel McLay (Great Britain) off in a photo finish, with Ben Swift (Sky) crossing the line as a distant third. Julien Vermote (Etixx-QuickStep) finished fifth and retained the lead.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Dylan Groenewegen: I only had a small chance to win such a hard stage

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen won the Tour of Britain’s stage four today with a sprint ahead of Dan McClay (Great Britain). The Dutchman profited off the power of the team to deliver the win. Belgian Julien Vermote (Etixx) retains the overall lead.

 

"When I’m in a clear position to sprint, I'm at my best. Today, the team ensured that I was in that position,” Groenewegen said. "All day, I had team-mates around me who helped me on every climb. When I got stuck behind, they made sure I got back into the peloton."

 

"The plan was to sprint with Dylan,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman explained. “We knew it would be a tough goal in a stage of 217 kilometres and 4000 metres climbing. When it succeeds, though, it’s extra nice.

 

“Many teams had the objective of getting rid of the sprinters and that was successful, many sprinters dropped off. That Groenewegen finished it off with a win is fantastic. "

 

Groenewegen didn’t expect such a win with all the climbs in the stage and the classification teams trying to break up the group after the escape was reeled in at 40 kilometres out. LottoNL-Jumbo, however, had many riders left and worked with Lotto-Soudal in the last 15 kilometres.

 

"In the last half hour, we were still with five men in the first group, then you know you have a chance to win,” added Zeeman.

 

Groenewegen said:

 

"Merijn Zeeman had warned us about the corners and the narrow section in the final kilometre. Tom Leezer went through there full-gas trough and I followed him. I just needed to sprint 250 meters from the finish."

 

"That Dylan Groenewegen can win after such a hard stage is good for his development as a sprinter,” said Zeeman. 

 

"It's nice that we can finish such a heavy day with a stage win,” Groenewegen added. “It's great that we are getting better at these kinds of sprints.

 

“I won in Yorkshire and I’ve won here too. Today was a very hard stage with all the climbs, and it was very long, so I knew there was only a small chance I could fight for it. But the team was very strong and I started to think I could do it. It was a very hard final but the team worked very hard and I had four guys for me, so it was a perfect team performance”

 

Dan McLay close to big win on home soil

Dan McLay sprinted to second for the national team.

 

“2nd today! Dead legged sprint, think I needed to be first out of that last corner! Thanks to the GB chaps for looking after me, top job,” he tweeted.

 

Ben Swift: I didn’t have the horsepower

Ben Swift sprinted to third on stage four of the Tour of Britain to move up to third overall.

 

Swift positioned himself perfectly in the technical final kilometre, but he didn't quite have the power to overhaul stage winner Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) or Daniel McLay (Team GB).

 

The bonus seconds on offer were enough to move Swift up to third though, 1:04 off race leader Julien Vermote (Etixx - Quick-Step).

 

It had been another frantic day of action on British roads, with Team Sky prominent in the final 50km once the break had been reeled in on the race's longest stage, at 218km.

 

Earlier in the day Nicolas Roche had again fought Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Goubert) for KOM points and now sits second behind the Belgian on 37, two shy of his 39.

 

Wout Poels and Roche then became two of the race's key animators, attacking off the front or setting a fast tempo, and numerous big name sprinters were unable to hack the pace across the rolling Welsh terrain, with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) the most high-profile casualty.

 

Swift was just unable to get on terms with Groenwegen and McLay on the final straight and the Dutchman pipped the Brit to the line in the battle for the win.

 

“Another hard day in TOB done. We gave it a good go to try and split things up a bit. Just didn't have the horsepower to match them at the end,” he tweeted after the stage

 

Carlos Barbero shows great form with fourth place in Britain

Caja Rural - Seguros RGA also showed off the team colors with flair in Tour of Britain this Wednesday as Carlos Barbero took fourth place in the bunch sprint on stage 4.

Miguel Ángel Benito joined an early four-man breakaway, which placed the young Spanish rider in the virtual leader’s jersey during the stage. However, the peloton didn’t let the break get out of reach and at the end, it all came down to a bunch sprint. Here, Caja Rural - Seguros RGA did a great job to position Barbero near the front on the final kilometers.

Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) took the win, while Diego Rubio held on to tenth place after helping Barbero. In the general classification, Domingos Gonçalves sits in 29th place, 5:03 minutes behind Julien Vermote (Etixx – Quick-Step) who still leads the race.

 

Julien Vermote: It was harder than expected

Tucked away nicely in the peloton and surrounded by his Etixx – Quick-Step teammates, general classification leader Julien Vermote overcame without any trouble the 4000 meters of climbing, as the escapees were pegged back slowly but surely, despite having a steady margin of six minutes at one point.

 

Numerous attempts of a late attack came inside the final 30 kilometers, but the peloton reacted to each and every one, so the day finished with the expected bunch sprint. A three-time ITT World Champion, Tony Martin hit the front and brought Julien Vermote in a very good position, which allowed the Belgian to stay with the sprinters before putting his strong kick to work and getting 5th on the stage won by Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) ahead of Dan McLay (Great Britain) and Ben Swift (Team Sky). By not conceding any second on this demanding parcours, the Belgian rider of Etixx – Quick-Step made sure of retaining the yellow jersey he pulled on following his masterful display on stage 2.

 

"It was really a tough stage, but my team did yet another great job, pulling at the front from the beginning. Max [Richeze] and Lukasz [Wisniowski] controlled the breakaway, while Dan and Tony took over in the last part of the stage and did an excellent job. I am very happy for defending the yellow jersey again, especially as the stage was a tough one", said Vermote, who also regained the lead in the points jersey following his top 5 placing. "The confidence is really high now, as all these results gave me a huge boost. People keep asking me of the GC, but there are still a few more hard days left and we want to take each thing at a time.

 

“It was a really tough stage, particularly the final. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to be honest, but my teammates did really great work today, and in the final I could count on Tony and Dan. We’ll see tomorrow, because it’s another really hard day, but I’m happy to still be in yellow.”

 

Trek frustrated to lose Giacomo Nizzolo on perfect stage for the Italian sprinter

It was a decimated peloton that contested the sprint finish for stage four in the Tour of Britain after 217 kilometers and 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) of climbing, and Boy van Poppel, handed another rare opportunity to make a sprint, battled to sixth place.

 

The harsh terrain of Wales carved most of the sprinters from the 60-strong that arrived at the line and zapped the legs of all, but stagiaire Jacopo Mosca, who has been riding like a seasoned pro, finished safely in 27th place to maintain his 11th in the classification.

 

"Jacopo was very good today, and when there were some attacks by the leaders he was there," said director Alain Gallopin. "It was not an easy race today, and Boy made a good sprint for 6th place. 

 

”It's a pity that Giacomo (Nizzolo) crashed yesterday because when we see the finish today with a group of 50-60, normally he would be there.”

 

When a few key attacks by the GC hitters formed in the final 40 kilometers, Mosca, attentively riding in the front positions, was quick to join the moves. The peloton split numerous times under the pressure until finally the terrain flattened, and everything calmed for the final 15-kilometer run-in.

 

Lotto Soudal took control of the reduced bunch to set up the finish for Jens Debusschere, who had battled back after being dropped, but when the dust cleared it was Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) jumping to the win ahead of Daniel McLay (Great Britain) and Ben Swift (Sky).

 

The overall classification remained the same with four more days of similar punishingparcours to go.

 

"To be realistic for the rest of the week we have only four guys now, and we will try to do our best," added Gallopin. "We will try to keep the top 10 with Jacopo, he is riding so well, and it would be a very good result for him, and we will try to be on the podium with Boy in the sprint. It's very difficult to do three racing programs in September, and you can see the same situation for many pro teams coming here with stagiaires. We will try to do our best with what we have."

 

British climbs too tough for Caleb Ewan

Slovenian Luka Mezgec sprinted into the top ten for a consecutive day on today’s stage four of the Tour of Britain.

 

The longest stage of the tour, at 217kilometres, saw the peloton cover over 4000metres of climbing which resulted in a reduced bunch at the finish line in Builth Wells, Wales.

 

Mezgec fought hard to stay in contention with the leading bunch after a furious pace was set over the undulating terrain in the final 50kilometres of the race. 

 

In what was a fast, technical finish, Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-Nl-Jumbo) came out on top to claim the stage victory with Mezgec caught a few places back having to settle for seventh place. 

 

Sport director Matt Wilson was pleased with Mezgec’s performance, fighting to be there in the final and positioning himself well for the sprint.

 

“Today was a long day and pretty solid for the guys,” explained Wilson. “Michael Hepburn did a bit of work early on in the stage and then the other guys were waiting with Caleb Ewan over the climbs to see if they could bring him back to the front for the final.

 

“Luka was by himself in the end at the front and he did a really good job. To try and do that job alone in the peloton is atough ask, so he did very well to be there and still finish in seventh place on such a techincal finish.

 

"The day didn't come off according to plan, it was a really, really hard day in the end and we will look forward to another sprint tomorrow hopefully."

 

An Post back in the sprints jersey at Tour of Britain

The An Post Chain Reaction riders were mixing it up as soon as the flag was dropped, with such an early Yodel Sprint, after 23 kilometers it was the perfect chance for Bovenhuis to look for the sprint win.  Although riders tried to break it was pretty much all together as the sprint approached and the cue for Bovenhuis to chase off the front and take the win!   He then had to hope that none of the other close competitors took the two other sprints on the stage.

 

Eventually after 54 kilometers of racing, four riders made a riders made a break stick and Tonelli, Holmes, Partridge and Benito Diez had a 3'40" lead. Because Diez was only five minutes down on the GC the bunch kept things well under control and with 37 left to ride it was all back together.  This was the cue for lots of attacks but with just a few kilometers to the last sprint it was Greipels Lotto Soudal team making the pace with many riders on the front.

 

As the sprint arrived several riders attacked including Jake Scott who held on to third place at the sprint doing a great job too protect Bovenhuis’s lead and now the jersey.

 

Once again it was back together for a rather technical final kilometers sprint.  Nicolas Vereecken positioned himself perfectly for the final tight bend before the finish straight and held on for a great 8th place.

 

Jake Scott was looking strong after his sprint and at one staged looked like he wanted to try and carrry on but lacked support, he came in the first bunch across the line the same time as the winner.  All of the riders finished once again.

 

Nicolas Vereecken said:

 

“It was a very tough stage but I survived the hard finale together with Jake as he attacked and brought me to the front and a great position to open up the sprint.

 

Jasper Bovenhuis said:

 

“Today I had to go all out in the first hour.  The plan we for me to get into the break so I could sprint for more points. Before the first sprint there was no real break so I attacked with one kilometer to go and it worked out, but I used a lot of energy to do this. Because we still had 190 kilometers to go I just had to survive all the climbs which I managed to do but I struggled in the last kilometers. Very happy that the team has got the jersey back and let see what the next stages bring”

 

DS Kurt Bogaerts added:

 

“Really great to have the jersey back again, if we can keep it for a few days even better.  Jasper did a wonderful job to win the first sprint.  Nicolas’s form is very good, sprinting to 8th in field of that class it is very good to see. Jake worked very hard to help Jasper on that final sprint, another rider whose form continues to improve.”

 

Tom Dumoulin sprints to top 10 result in the Tour of Britain

Team Giant-Alpecin were very visible at the front of the bunch and with 17km remaining Jochem Hoekstra attacked. However, the sprint teams never gave him a chance and he got caught back with 10km left. In the tight and technical sprint finish, the Dutch national champion Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL – Jumbo) took the stage victory, while Tom Dumoulin finished in 9th place. In the general classification, Dumoulin moves up to 8th place.

 

Difficult sprint for Zabel, Phinney tests hi legs

With less that 40km to go there was a stream of constant attacks with BMC Racing Team marking any dangerous moved as well as Taylor Phinney making his own mark on the race with only 5km left of the 218km stage.

 

Eventually the race came together for the technical final kilometer which saw Rick Zabel move up to the front of the bunch before finding himself pushed out of contention for the bunch sprint at a crucial corner with just 600m to go, eventually crossing the line in 14th place behind Groenewegen.

 

Sports director Jackson Stewart said:

 

“I think for most teams today’s seemed like it would definitely be a hard stage but also potentially a good day for the breakaway and at one point most of the sprinters were dropped because it was so hard so it looked like potentially it wouldn’t go down to a sprint at all. We we thought a big breakaway would potentially get away and go today but everyone was really fighting and not wanting to let to big of a break go and in the end the race neutralized itself and came down to what was a reduced bunch sprint, although a lot of big sprinters missed out.

 

“They tried to make it really hard in that last section with lots of attacks. It was a hard section but you still had a lot of headwind and distance and a big road for 22km back so if the breakaway didn’t already have some time before then it didn’t seem like any one would make it but a lot of teams still tried and made it a hard race and eventually a large group came back together.

 

“It was really tricky final kilometer and Zabel got caught out there just with the technicality of it. We stayed out of trouble with Rohan Dennis today and Phinney tried something at the end but it was really a good road for them to chase and close down for the sprint.”

 

Steele Von Hoff misses out on tough day in Britian

ONE had a double edged plan, if the bunch was to stay tight it would be a bunch sprint for Steele Von Hoff. If it split, the team would work to position their highest placed GC rider, Dion Smith, right in the middle of the action.

 

With 60km to go the race hit a very hard section of racing, coming off the main roads and into the narrow Welsh lanes. The team were positioned well going into the lanes making sure they had numbers in the front of the race. Working hard over the many short sharp and relentless climbs for 40km, Von Hoff battled hard, getting tailed off with only a couple of climbs to go.

 

Working tirelessly to rejoin the peloton, the Australian Sprinter was just shy of making contact as the pace once again increased. Running into the finish, Pete Williams rode towards the front of the group to protect Karol Domagalski and Dion Smith from the wind. With a battle into the technical left hand corner on the finishing funnel, it was always going to be a battle between teams.

 

Williams hit the front with 1.2km to go with Smith tight on his wheel but  they due were unfortunate to be swamped just a couple of hundred metres from the line. Dion Smith held his position and sprinted for the line finishing in a credible 16th place, with Karol Domagalski finishing not far behind in 23rd position.

 

Tony Gallopin picks up bonus seconds in the Tour of Britain

Tony Gallopin picked up five bonus seconds and moved into fourth overall

 

"I took some bonus seconds but I was just in a good position in the peloton. Then I tried on the climbs but that was just to test the legs and then to try and make the race harder for my sprinter Jens Debusschere," a Gallopin told Cyclingnews at the end of the stage.

 

"I'm not really here for the overall. First it's about winning a stage. I see that I'm in the same time for the GC as some of the riders like Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin, but if I stay like this it will be hard to beat them with the time trial. If I can get 20 seconds on them in GC then it's not to bad but I will do my best. It's going to be hard to beat Cummings and Vermote for the victory."

 

Steve Cummings still in pole position to win Tour of Britain

Once again, for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka our goal was to ensure Steve Cumming’s 2nd place on the general classification was never under any serious threat. The 4 riders in the move did not pose any immediate threat on Cummings but with the best placed rider in the break 4 minutes behind on GC, Johann van Zyl and Jay Thomson made sure the break was kept in check. It wasn’t long though and a number of other teams also became interested in the chase.

 

This was obviously to the detriment of the 4 leaders and they were all swallowed up with still 37km left to race. It was a nervous situation because a flurry attacks at this point would be hard to control but with Bernie Eisel watching over proceedings the African Team were able to remain calm. The few attacks that did follow lacked the impetus to make a difference and with Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw putting themselves at the service of Cummings, Cummings could safely follow the wheels to cross the line with the main pack and still in 2nd place on GC.

 

Aggressive Movistar bounces back, Lobato abandons

After some difficult days for the Movistar Team in the Tour of Britain, the attacking spirit came up in the more than 4000m of climbing of the fourth stage. The telephone squad , reduced to five riders after the abandonment of Juanjo Lobato, citing physical fatigue, attacked in the last fifty kilometers with Gorka Izaguirre, Giovanni Visconti, the latter on two occasions, and a remarkable Jorge Arcas , who along with Phinney (BMC) challenged the favorites in the last 4 km.

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