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"It's really nice to win, especially as there's only one uphill finish. I'm really happy with that. I wanted to try here for the GC but the second day wasn't good, so I really wanted to win today on this finish."

Photo: Sirotti


10.09.2016 @ 00:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout Poels (Sky) bounced back from his collapse in stage 2 by taking victory in the queen stage at the Tour of Britain for the second year in a row. Having joined Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) in their attack on the Haytor climb, he made a solo move with a little more than one kilometre to go and held off the two time triallists to take the win. Dennis beat Dumoulin in the sprint for second while Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) finished 8th, limited his losses well and moved into the race lead.


We have gathered several reactions.


Poels: I really wanted to win after by bad second stage

Wout Poels stormed to victory on the Tour of Britain's queen stage for the second year running.


Poels jumped away from a severely reduced peloton in the closing two kilometres on the race's only summit finish and nobody could catch the Dutchman, who claimed the win atop the famous Haytor climb.


Ian Stannard and Danny van Poppel had both produced excellent and sustained shifts at the front of the peloton in the closing 30km to bring the break back and then Poels did the rest, following the early moves on the 6km Haytor, before picking his moment perfectly.


Countryman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) briefly looked like he might be able to follow Poels, but he couldn't haul him back, and the 28 year old replicated his 2015 success, when he won atop Hartside Fell.


Ben Swift and Nicolas Roche dug in to finish strongly, with Roche coming home sixth, and Swift finishing just outside the top 10 to both remain well positioned overall. Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) battled to eighth to move into the race lead.


Speaking after the stage Poels expressed his delight at winning at the Tour of Britain for the second year running.


He said: "It's really nice to win, especially as there's only one uphill finish. I'm really happy with that. I wanted to try here for the GC but the second day wasn't good, so I really wanted to win today on this finish.


"It's my third win at the Tour of Britain, and sixth of the season! It's been going really well this year and it's always nice to win at the Tour of Britain. It's a really nice race with lots of crowds. On the climb it was really busy, and I really like it when the school children are out next to the road. We don't have that in the Netherlands and it's nice to see.


"We took control a little bit in the last part and we wanted to close the gap to go for the stage victory. Yogi and Danny did a really, really good job."


Rohan Dennis: The ball is in my court

Today's Tour of Britain queen stage featured the race's only summit finish and saw the General Classification contenders go head to head with Rohan Dennis taking second place on the line and moving into third overall. 


A four-rider breakaway formed early into Stage 6 in Britain but, with a battle of the General Classification contenders expected on the final summit finish to Haytor, the peloton kept the group's advantage in check never allowing it to reach beyond 3 minutes 30 seconds. 


Heading toward the final two Category One climbs of the day, the formation of the peloton started to reshuffle and an injection of pace from BMC Racing Team saw the gap quickly come down to under one minute with 22km to go. 


The remaining breakaway rider was eventually swept up by the peloton with 10km to go before the race headed towards an uphill battle to the finish line. 


Dennis was able to attack on the early slopes of the 5.7km climb to Haytor and eventually found himself part of a select group of riders working hard at the front of the race. 


Wout Poels (Team Sky) attacked going into the final kilometer and was able to hold on to a small lead to take the stage win while Dennis was locked in race against Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant Alpecin) behind him. 


Dennis dug deep in the closing meters of the race and showed his strong form by accelerating away from Dumoulin to cross the line second and move into third place on the General Classification, 51 seconds behind the new race leader, Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data).


Rohan Dennis said:


"The race really came down to that final climb today and it was pretty hard there at the end. I went early but it was an all or nothing decision in the morning. I basically thought that to win this race, I really have to open it up and hope to crack Vermote and Cummings and to do that meant I had to go early. It didn't quite work out perfectly but it pulled me a little bit closer and with the time trial coming up I think that it could still be a pretty open race.


"I haven't been working on purely climbing efforts at the moment so I think I can take a lot of confidence out of the fact that I have been able to get the power out on the climbs. A lot of my training has been centered around time trials and I think what has helped me this week particularly is that I have lost a couple of kilos after Rio and that all adds up over a day of ups and downs.


"It's a pretty straightforward time trial I think. From the profile it is not particularly hilly and that final climb is fairly short so I think it will be a quick run in to it and we will be able to bounce over it quickly and in that sense it should suit me. I guess with the position I am in on the GC the ball is in my court so I really just have to go out there and do what I know I can do." 

Sports Director Jackson Stewart added:


"We knew we could take some time on Cummings and Vermote today but we just didn't know how much. We rode pretty strong on the penultimate climb and then Rohan rode hard up that last climb thinking about more than just the stage today. He gave it everything he had and a few guys were able to go with him. Cummings was able to come back once or twice and then Rohan was able to take more time at the line. The goal for today was to move up on the GC and try and get as close to the top spot as possible and that is exactly what Rohan did today. Now we can go into the time trial tomorrow and leave it all out there on the road to go for the stage as well as seeing what we can do on the GC. It will be a tough ask as Dumoulin and Cummings are similar time trial specialists to Rohan and I think it will be a really good battle tomorrow."


Yellow jersey Steve Cummings: I was under pressure

By finishing in 8th on the stage though, Steve Cummings moved into the yellow jersey and overall lead of the Tour of Britain. 


Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding to deliver Steve Cummings to the final climb in good shape and then it would be up to the British powerhouse to fend for himself on the climb. As the African Team controlled the front of the race with Etixx-Quickstep, the break would falter after they began to attack one another. With 10km to go, the race was all together and a showdown would take place on the final climb.


Dennis, Dumoulin and Poels would put in early attacks on the climb but Cummings remained patient as Tony Martin set the pace in the yellow jersey group. As the race leader Julien Vermote came into difficulty with 3km to go, Cummings took this as his queue to jump across to the lead group. A number of riders soon followed to create a general regrouping at the head of affairs. Dennis tried another attack but is was Poels counter attack with 1.5km to go which would make the difference.


Cummings went into time trial mode over the final kilometers to try and limit his losses to the accelerations being made and this saw himcoming across the line in 8th place on the stage, just 21″ behind Poels. This solid effort by Cummings saw him move into the overall race lead by 49 seconds over Dumoulin with Dennis in third at 51 seconds.


Steve Cummings said:

“The team did a great job again, like they have done all week. The final was really hard with a headwind and there wasn’t much help but I managed to limit my losses and stuck to the plan. There are still a few more days to go so we just got to keep on fighting and sticking to it until the end. 


"The team have done an excellent job all week in taking care of me every day and sacrificed chances for Mark [Cavendish] in the sprints to protect me. I was feeling a little bit of pressure coming into today and I just thought all I could do was do my best and I gave it my all at the end and I'm delighted to take Yellow.

"I've been second twice before in this race, once by four seconds and once by eight seconds I think, so this race is normally won by seconds not minutes. You still have to claw back those seconds and it's not done until it's done. The time trial I'll just give it full gas and hopefully it'll be enough to hold off the superstar time trialists Dumoulin and Dennis."


Visconti and Izagirre bounce back in British queen stage

The queen stage of the Tour of Britain - 150 km between Sidmouth and the top of Haytor (1st) - crowned  Cummings (BMC) as new leader after a good demonstration of two from the Movistar Team. Giovanni Visconti started, being a member of the break of four who led all day before the Italian was the last survivor, caught just five kilometers before the bottom of the ascent.  Gorka Izaguirre was strong and was always with the best although he for the effort in the finale.


It was 10th place for the Spaniard, 31" behind Wout Poels (SKY), before a  double stage tomorrow in Bristol: 15 km time trial in the morning , with Alex Dowsett and Izagirre among the candidates, and  a 90km circuit race, on the same route, in the afternoon  before closing Sunday in London.


Trek stagiaire on the verge of top 10 finish at Tour of Britain

Stagiaire Jacopo Mosca, 23, climbed with the top general classification favorites in a taxing finish to stage six at the Tour of Britain to finish 11th and maintained 9th place overall.


Mosca again positioned in the front for the final 30 kilometers when the roads began a relentless pitch upwards, and when he briefly lost the wheels of the favorites under the ferocious attacks, he valiantly fought back as a small regrouping occurred ahead of the final steep kilometer.


Only in the last punishing meters did he succumb to the arduous effort, arriving moments after the big guns, but showing once again that he can hold his own with some of the best punchers in the WorldTour.


"We are trying to do the best with Jacopo, and he stayed close to the leaders and is still 9th in the GC," said director Alain Gallopin. "We will see what happens in the time trial tomorrow if he can maintain top 10 overall because he has no experience in the TT. The last time he did a time trial was five years ago when he was a junior.


"From what I saw in Utah I am not surprised what he is doing here in the climbs, but tomorrow will be a new experience for him. I hope that he can stay top 10, he will try his best, but we will see."


Fantastic comeback from Robert Power after strange disease

Today’s stage six of the Tour of Britain featured a tough six kilometre climb to the summit finish in Haytor with Rob Power the highest place rider for ORICA-BikeExchange. 


Amets Txurruka, along with youngster Power, represented the Australian outfit in the reduced lead group as they entered the final climb.


A rapid pace was set with Power impressively holding on for 15th place in what is only his second race back after time out due to injury.


Wout Poels (Team Sky) secured the stage victory, leading solo in the final kilometre on a day that drastically changed the overall classification.


Sport director Matt Wilson was pleased with the result from Power given his lack of racing.


"It was an impressive ride from Rob considering it is just his second race back,” explained Wilson. “He stayed with the leaders up the climb until two kilometres to go which is great.


“Today was a relatively easy stage, it was pretty controlled they let the breakaway go and then kept a steady tempo. It wasn’t really a stage for us, it was a day for recovering and we will now look forward to the weekend."


Tomorrow the stage is split into two with a 15kilometre time trial in the morning followed by a 90kilometre circuit race in the afternoon on the same course. 


“Tomorrow should be better for us,” continued Wilson. “Apparently there is a hill on the circuit which is said to be quite tough but we will see when we get there and hopefully we will have a sprint again.”


ONE in the top 20 at Tour of Britain

As the race headed into the final block of climbing and with just 40km remaining, ONE Pro Cycling were looking to set up Dion Smith for the  gruelling summit finish on Haytor.


The gap to the breakaway was slowly ebbing away as Team Sky took control at the front of the peloton in a bid to catch the 4 leaders.  Hayden McCormick and Pete Williams done a great job of protecting Dion Smith and guiding him to the front of the peloton, ready to start the final KOM climb. Heading into the bottom of the 5.4km climb up to the summit of Haytor, Pete Williams dropped Smith off at the front of the peloton.


Working hard and grinding his way to the line, Smith arrived on the summit in 17th position, which moves the young Kiwi into 16th position overall on GC. Dion Smith is currently ONE Pro Cycling’s best placed rider in 16th position overall with 3 stages to go.


Vermote: There were too many good climbers

The most important day of Tour of Britain saw Etixx – Quick-Step come at the front of the peloton as soon as four riders made their way into a break, soon after the flag was dropped. The team controlled the hostilities and the gap of the quartet, bringing them back before the foot of the final ascent, Haytor (6% over 5.7 kilometers), which was tackled at a fast pace by the bunch, as many riders fought to slot into a good position.


Protected by Tony Martin, who did an amazing job to keep him in the upper part of the peloton, Julien Vermotestayed with the best until the final three kilometers, when attacks began to flew from all over the place, sparking a selection. On the tough ramps of Haytor, the 27-year old put in a huge effort to limit the losses as the peloton was whittled down to just a handful of riders, before Wout Poels (Team Sky) powered away to take the win at the top of the ascent.


Vermote, one of the 18 different Etixx – Quick-Step riders to bask in a victory this season, crossed the finish line exhausted, and despite dropping out of the top 10 overall and being now more than a minute behind new GC leader Steven Cummings (Dimension Data), he was satisfied with how he rode on Friday afternoon, on the hard stage which rippled up and down from the start to finish as heavy rain pelted down from the sky.


"The guys did an amazing job, just as in the past days, and I can look back with pride at these four stages which I spent in the yellow jersey. I tried to do my best, but there were too many good climbers in the group and I couldn't hang in there when the pace went up", said Vermote, who is 11th in the general classification, just ahead of teammate Dan Martin. "The race isn't over yet and we'll try to do some other nice things over the next two days, so that we conclude this Tour of Britain on a high."




LottoNL-Jumbo: We will do everything to win with Groenewegen

Paul Martens led Team LottoNL-Jumbo to 36th today in the Tour of Britain stage, but the team has its eyes on the weekend with Dylan Groenewegen in the sprints.


Sky’s Wout Poels won the stage solo in Haytor, Dartmoor, and Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) took the overall lead with 49 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)

"At the foot of the final climb, Maarten Wynants and Bert-Jan Lindeman were still in the first group," said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. "When Dennis, Dumoulin, Izaguirre and Poels attacked for the general classification, they pulled over and took it easy to the top. The overall classification is not our goal here. We have come to sprint and win with Dylan Groenewegen."


Jasper Bovenhuis, Miguel Benito Diez, Tom Stewart and Giovanni Visconti attacked and managed to build a maximum lead of four minutes today. Team Sky closed the gap and on the steep final climb to Haytor, four riders rode clear.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo looks ahead to tomorrow afternoon, where there is a sprint opportunity. The riders face a short individual time trail in the morning and in the afternoon, a short, yet challenging stage on the same route as the time trail.

"Tomorrow there is probably a chance for Dylan," Zeeman added. "But it will mean hard work for the team. That is why we have saved as much energy as possible today. Of course we must also look at what the other sprint teams want here, but we're not going to depend on them. We will do everything to force a bunch sprint."

After double racing day, they will race a criterium in the heart of London to conclude the Tour of Britain. It will provide another opportunity for Groenewegen


Talent solidifies sprints lead in Tour of Britain

For An Post, Jasper Bovenhuis went out on the stage with just one plan in his mind, to get at least two if the day's sprints.  Right from the drop of the flag Bovenhuis and three other riders, Benito Diez, Stewart and Visconti made a break and after only three kilometers they had a gap of just under a minute. 


After 20 kilometers the gap was over three minutes and the peloton had let them go.  They would never be allowed a huge gap as two of the riders in the break were only five minutes behind in the GC.


Bovenhuis and the break kept riding hard and Jasper was able to take maximum points in those first two sprints and increase his lead to eight points in the competition.


After 110 kilometers Bovenhuis dropped off the break to conserve energy, he was shepherded through the bunch by Emiel Wastyn and finished the stage in the grupetto.


Once again all the An Post Chain Reaction riders finished the stage. 



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