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"Also, with Mark Cavendish sacrificing his chances at the Tour of Britain for me, anything other than a win would have been a failure. So there was a lot of pressure but I am glad we managed to pull it off."

Photo: Sirotti

TOUR OF BRITAIN

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
12.09.2016 @ 01:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) proved that he is ready to lead Australia at the World Championships when he crushed the opposition in the bunch sprint on the final stage of the Tour of Britain. After Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) had got an unexpected gap due to a mechanical for André Greipel, the Australian launched an impressive sprint to blast past all his rivals and cross the line with a big gap to second-placed Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), with Debusschere holding on for third place. Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) finished safely and so won the race ahead of Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Cummings: When Cavendish works for you, anything but victory would be a failure

The 2016 Tour of Britain reached its conclusion with the final stage taking place in London this afternoon. While Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) won the final stage from a bunch kick, it was Steve Cummings who won the overall title for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

 

At just 100km, the 8th and final stage of the Tour of Britain was short and fast but one where the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders would not be taking any chances in defending Steve Cummings yellow jersey. From the gun the African Team stamped its authority on the race by taking up the leading positions in the peloton.

 

There were a good few attacks early on but eventually it was 4 riders who got a gap on the peloton. Jay Thomson and Johann van Zyl did the early controlling and kept the break in check, as they have for most of the week already, while the peloton raced around the London city circuit. Cummings was always protected up at the head of the race with Mark Cavendish making sure the yellow jersey was never in difficulty. Bernie Eisel and Mark Renshaw used their experience and strength to help pull back the break just before they reached the final 10km of the stage.

 

It was a great sight to have all 6 of the African Team riders lined up at the head of the peloton in front of the incredible Tour of Britain crowd. The team had worked tirelessly all week to set up the overall victory for Cummings after his classy ride to Kendal on stage 2. He solidified his position at the top of the general classification with an excellent time trial yesterday and today the title was confirmed and successfully defended by the African Team when Cummings crossed the line in 17th on the stage.

 

The 2016 Tour of Britain is the African Team’s 29th victory of the season and Cummings 5th win this year, another incredible moment in what has been an excellent year for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

 

Steve Cummings said:

 

“There was a lot of pressure on me with the team having worked so hard and doing such a good job all week. Also, with Mark Cavendish sacrificing his chances at the Tour of Britain for me, anything other than a win would have been a failure. So there was a lot of pressure but I am glad we managed to pull it off. It is another good win this season for us all, for the team, all our team sponsors and partners, Qhubeka and one I really enjoyed too.

 

"I'm delighted. Finally I can smile and enjoy it. It's been a tough week. It was so close that it wasn't done until I crossed the line. I'd to thank all my team-mates for keeping me out of trouble, and the British public for supporting every day like they have. It's been a great week. It's a bit overwhelming, I just want to put a baseball cap on and a hood up and disappear now for a while and get back out of the way.

 

"I've been given freedom to train on my own, in my own environment. I can get myself ready physically, mentally. I go to the races much happier because I'm not away too much at training camps, messing around.

 

"And freedom in the race as well to express myself. The team just sort of say, not 'Do want you want', but 'As long as you perform, it's OK', and I've been performing, so it's been good.

 

“I was motivated, I wanted to come home and ride well, because it’s something I’ve not done for a while,” he said.

 

“People maybe forget about you; the hardcore cycling fans who follow all the racing know what you’re up to, but maybe the public don’t really see it.

 

”It’s good to show them what I do, it’s pretty cool. I don’t really like media attention – I’m a simple guy who wants to stay out of the way. I’m happy to race my bike and I’m happy to talk to people, but I don’t go looking around for it.”

 

“Cavendish has been amazing, he’s sacrificed his own chances here. Again, the hardcore supporters understand that, but maybe the general public don’t.

 

“If you don’t see him winning, you can miss what he’s done in the first hour which was him completely emptying myself for me and the cause.

 

“That was a lot of pressure for me – the team could have won a few more stages. Anything other than me winning wouldn’t have been so good.”


Ewan: I am coming up well for the second part of the season

Multiple Tour Down Under stage winner Caleb Ewan sprinted brilliantly to victory on the eighth and final stage of the Tour of Britain today, blowing away the bunch to win by at least two clear bike lengths.

 

A breakaway of four was away for 90kilometres of the race before being caught with ten kilometres to go as the peloton began to organize itself for the sprint.

 

The 22-year-old was well positioned by his ORICA-BikeExchange teammates going into the finale and was able to maintain his speed after a blistering early acceleration.

 

“I am super happy,” said Ewan at the finish. “Its great to finally get the win after coming close a couple of times earlier in the race, it all worked out perfectly today.

 

”It was a short but really fast stage that definitely suited me. The guys did a great job of keeping me in position and thankfully I was able to finish it off.

 

"The last lap, even before the last kilometer was always going to be really sketchy. What people might not know is there are lead-outs into the corners, and that made every corner a full sprint. That whole last lap was really scary.

 

"Lotto in the end tried to mix it up a bit. I'm not sure why Greipel's not sprinting so much in this race. I didn't expect that, I thought he was going to go for the win. They let Debusschere go up the road, and luckily we caught him on the line.

 

"Before the stage, we hadn't won a stage the whole race so this was our last chance. We put it all on the line. The guys who came from the Olympics on the track were struggling a bit on the long road stages, but maybe a shorter road stage like this would suit them more. They did a fantastic job to get me to the front.

 

"I'm happy I'm coming up well for the second part of the season."

 

A solid eight days of racing from Orica-BikeExchange saw Ewan claim second place in the sprint on the opening stage then fourth on stage five whilst Slovenian Luka Mezgec notched up three top ten finishes.

 

Basque climber Amets Txurruka was the highest placed rider for ORICA-BikeExchange on the general classification in 38th place with Stephen Cummings (Dimension-Data) winning the overall title.

 

Sport director Matt Wilson was pleased with the result and happy to finally get the win.

 

“Obviously it was a fantastic result,” said Wilson. “We are all really happy with how it went today.

 

”It was our last chance to get the win and the stage suited Caleb (Ewan) very well. The team did an excellent job in getting Caleb into the best position and he finished it off very very well and ended up winning by a few bike lengths.

 

”All the guys are super happy to have finally gotten the win that we’ve been working for all week, we left it until the last moment, but it’s great place to have taken the victory.”

 

Rohan Dennis: Maybe my offensive racing cost me the win

The Tour of Britain wrapped up in London today with Taylor Phinney on the attack as part of the breakaway before Rohan Dennis finished safely behind the bunch sprint to secure his podium position on the General Classification. 

 

A traditionally fast and exciting stage, Tour of Britain Stage 8 did not disappoint as the high speed circuit through London saw attacks fly off the front of the peloton as soon as the race hit KM 0.

 

Taylor Phinney was part of a four-rider breakaway that went clear on the first of sixteen 6.2km laps around the British capital and the group was able to extend their lead to a maximum of 50 seconds over the course of the race.

 

As they started their penultimate lap the peloton had the group within their sights and despite a final a burst of acceleration from Phinney the peloton was back together and heading for the previously predicted bunch sprint.

 

With a series of technical corners to tackle before the finishing straight, one rider went clear at the front of the race before the bunch charged towards the line with Caleb Ewan (Orica - BikeExchange) taking the win.

 

Dennis finished safely in the main bunch to cap off a strong week of racing in Britain with second overall on the General Classification, 26 seconds behind Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data).

 

Rohan Dennis said:

 

“It’s been a hard race, a really hard race actually but I am pretty happy with how I have raced and the form I have shown this week. In hindsight I probably lost the race on Stage 2 but in saying that if I didn’t attack up The Struggle I wouldn’t have been as confident on the other climbs throughout the week and maybe I wouldn’t have attacked on Haytor or in Bristol. For me, you can either play the defensive game and possibly win or you can go on the offensive and risk more but if you pull it off it feels more special.

 

“I still have a few more races coming up this season including the Eneco Tour and the World TTT Championships, if it goes ahead, which are both different types of races to this one but this week we have seen really aggressive and unpredictable racing so it has been a good test and I think it has shown the good form that I am in.”

 

Sports director Jackson Stewart added:

 

“We did a lot of work all week but we still felt like we wanted to take some risks, some chances and really just race our bikes today. It’s not often you get to race in the centre of a city like London so we were motivated to ride aggressively as we have tried to do all week and you never know unless you try. We tried a little bit, or a big bit in Phinney’s case, as well as protecting Rohan so it was a good way to really end our week.

 

“Overall, it has been a good week for us. We came here thinking we would do our best on the GC and try for a stage and we achieved both of those goals plus some. It was nice to see Amaël Moinard also have a good stage and everyone made some good efforts and that is what I like to see. We came here with a strong rider for the GC but we were also able to target some other goals at the same time and give everyone the opportunity to try something.”

 

Groenewegen: Ewan was simply faster

Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to second in the final stage of the Tour of Britain today in London behind Caleb Ewan (Orica - Bike Exchange). Steven Cummings (Dimension Data) took home the overall trophy ahead of Dennis Rohan (BMC) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant - Alpecin).

 

The final stage ran on the iconic roads and through the famous squares of London. The riders raced Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. Four men escaped early, but the teams – including LottoNL-Jumbo – had a sprint finish in mind.

 

"It was a very hectic battle with all the sprinters’ teams, especially towards the last kilometre," said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. "We were good. Dylan sat behind the wheel of Greipel. But when Greipel’s team-mate Jens Debusschere shot away, Greipel left a gap just before the last corner and Dylan jumped behind Van Poppel. He had to close down Debusschere. Caleb Ewan followed him and won in a fair duel."

 

As a small consolation, Groenewegen won the points jersey in the Tour of Britain.

 

"It was a hard to stay at the front," Groenewegen said. "A group got off and we controlled the race. Everything went quite well at the last corner but I started a little too late for the sprint. But I must also confess that I was a little tired. Ewan was simply faster today. I have to be satisfied with this week and now on to the next races. "

 

Groenewegen closed the Tour of Britain with a victory and a handful of podium places. His next stop is the Eneco Tour, which starts in Bolsward on September 19.

 

Tom Dumoulin finishes third at Tour of Britain

For Giant-Alpecin, Roy Curvers sprinted to 12th place while Caleb Ewan (Orica BikeExchange) took the win in the bunch sprint. Tom Dumoulin was perfectly protected and finished in 23rd place and remains in 3rd place in the overall classification.

 

Gallopin optimistic after solid fourth place at Tour of Britain

Tony Gallopin got fourth overall, at 1’02” of winner Stephen Cummings. Rohan Dennis is second on GC at 26 seconds, Tom Dumoulin is third at 38 seconds. Gallopin conquered four top ten places the past week.

 

Tony Gallopin said: 

 

“I had a good week. Fourth is a nice result when you see which strong time trialists participated here. The time trial on Saturday was crucial for the final ranking. My main goal was to win a stage this week, unfortunately that didn’t happen. Our team does go home with a stage win though thanks to the victory of André Greipel on the first day. That’s good for us.

 

“I was ready for the battle in all stages that determined the GC, but nothing could be done about Stephen Cummings. Others were stronger and I accept that. But don’t forget that I was here to prepare for my last goals of the season. My performances here give me confidence for what’s coming. This is an important week with the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday and on Sunday the road race at the European Championships. I just need to recover from the Tour of Britain.”

 

Breakthrough top 10 for Trek stagiaire in Tour of Britain

Boy van Poppel powered to fourth place in stage eight at the Tour of Britain, Sunday, while stagiaire Jacopo Mosca, who has raced brilliantly all week, finished safely in 25th to secure his 10th overall.

 

"Boy did well, he was fourth, and already two times six, and Jacopo did a 10th GC. I took the maximum I could take with my four riders here," pointed out director Alain Gallopin pleased with the team's performance.

 

"Jacopo was never in trouble, he always stayed in the good position, and he follows advice directly. When I told him to take the breakaway the second day he was skeptical, but it turned out to be a good idea. But we have experience in this," added Gallopin with a smile. "No, we did better than we expected, and I am very satisfied."

 

The 99.2-kilometer circuit race, held in the heart of London, concluded the eight-day event: 16 laps of a 6.2-kilometer criterium-like course. With the last relic of the 4-man breakaway that escaped from the gun swept up, and eight kilometers remaining, the sprinters began to position.

 

The final kilometer included tricky sweeping turns, perfect for a surprise attack, and when Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) sat up and let the wheel go of his lead-out man Jens Debusschere 600 meters from the line, it almost worked.

 

An Etixx-Quick Step rider led the chase but suddenly pulled off the front, unable to do more to close the gap to Debusschere. Van Poppel, who was next in line, had no choice but to go all-in with less than 400 meters remaining.

 

Van Poppel's effort profited two riders on his wheel: Caleb Ewan (Orica BikeExchange), who jumped from his slipstream in the last meters to take the win, and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo), who sprinted to second.

 

Debusschere held on for third while Van Poppel crossed the line in fourth.

 

"It's not easy to win a stage here, and Boy did very well," reiterated Gallopin. "He was the first behind, and he had no choice, he had to go. Fourth is a good result with the level of sprinters here. He is normally the final lead-out, and it was nice he could go for his own chances this week, and against some big sprinters he did very well."

 

Sky: Poels had the form to win the Tour of Britain

Nicolas Roche wrapped up sixth place overall while Elia Viviani sprinted to fifth on the final stage at the Tour of Britain.

 

The eight-day event came to a close on the packed streets of London, with a bunch sprint deciding the stage.

 

Roche was safely ensconced in the peloton to secure sixth in one of his final appearances for the team, one minute and 26 seconds back on victor Steve Cummings (Dimension Data).

 

In addition to Sky taking home the team prize, Ben Swift also bagged eighth overall after a strong week, and played a key role in a well-drilled Team Sky lead-out in the final kilometres.

 

Moving to the front with 3km to go, Swift, Ian Stannard and Danny van Poppel all ensured that Viviani was positioned for the final hairpin. The Italian looked to be in a great position, but a fractured final kilometre ensued, with Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) tactically letting the wheel of his team-mate go.

 

In the scramble Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) launched his sprint early to take the stage ahead of Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), with Viviani netting a top-five finish.

 

Team Sky's home race was an enjoyable one, with two top-10 finishers complemented by two memorable stage wins by Stannard (stage 3) and Wout Poels (stage 6).

 

After the race coach Rod Ellingworth told TeamSky.com:

 

"It's been a good week with good commitment from the guys - and two fantastic stage wins. The objective coming in was two stage wins and to win the GC. When you look at how Wout won the queen stage you can see that the form was all there. I think he just had an off-day on stage two which everybody can have.

 

"It was great to see the guys all committing. With only six-man teams you can't afford to rest anyone, and when their roles changed from stage to stage, to see them all committing to each other was fantastic.

 

"We've enjoyed the week and it's been great to see all the fans and the support. Thanks to everyone who came out. It was a great finish to the race in London too. Elia was a bit disappointed, but coming off the track and to be in the mix he's done a good job."

 

Fantastic performance by Wanty stagiaire at Tour of Britain

This week, the team Wanty-Groupe Gobert took part for the first time in the Tour of Britain, an eight-day race with eleven WorldTour teams at the start. The stagiaire Xandro Meurisse rode an amazing race. He finished as fifth in the queen stage in Haytor and takes the seventh place in the general classification. He also won the mountains classification.

 

"It was a hard week. I showed that I can compete with WorldTour riders. I'm satisfied with my performance," Xandro Meurisse said.

 

On the second day Xandro Meurisse was a part of the breakaway. He got the fifth place of the stage and took the leadership in the mountains classification. Irish champion Nicolas Roche was a tough opponent but was no match for Xandro Meurisse. In the queen stage the stagiaire gave everything again and finished as fifth. He could limit the damage in the time trial.

 

"This jersey cost a lot of energy but on the Haytor climb I got the best possible result. The seventh place is a good result."

 

It is the second consecutive top ten in the GC of the Tour of Britain for Xandro Meurisse.

 

"I like the Tour of Britain. It is a terrain with many up and downs which suits me. I am pleased to confirm last year's result," Xandro Meurisse concluded.

 

French climber Guillaume Martin was also doing well in the Tour of Britain. He finished as 11th in the general classification. Marco Marcato, Enrico Gasparotto, Björn Thurau and Mark McNally often came at the front of the peloton to help the team captains.

 

In the team classification Wanty-Groupe Gobert gets the second place.

 

"It is a proof of our good performance. I am proud of my riders. It was a tough race with some of the best riders of the world. Wanty-Groupe Gobert proved again its worth in the big races," sports director Steven De Neef reflected.

 

Etixx-QuickStep proud of successful Tour of Britain

This year's edition of the Tour of Britain is done and dusted, and Etixx – Quick-Step can look back at it with pride, as it was again among the protagonists, despite facing a tough course, which didn't offer any moment a respite, pushing and challenging the riders to give it their all and go over the limit. Starting from Glasgow, the peloton had to overcome harsh weather conditions, slippery roads, tricky corners, taxing climbs and a fierce competition, before completing the race under the sunny sky of London, the capital of the United Kingdom, which saw thousands of people line up the road to greet the riders who made it to the end.

 

Julien Vermote and Tony Martin were the two Etixx – Quick-Step riders to bag a stage win apiece, while Dan Martin and Maximiliano Richeze also came to the forefront, each finishing in the top 3 once. Julien, a regular at the Tour of Britain, powered to his maiden victory of the season on a grim day, which he spent in the breakaway since kilometer zero, and donned the coveted yellow jersey for the first time in his career.

 

A four-day stint in the lead then followed for the 27-year-old Belgian, four days in which both he and the squad worked relentlessly to control the escapees and keep yellow, which stayed within the team until the punishing queen-stage to Haytor. One day later, Tony Martin rode to victory on the sole individual time trial of this edition, notching up a win which was made sweeter by the fact it was Etixx – Quick-Step's 50th of the season. By doing this, Etixx – Quick-Step also extended its own victory tally at the race to 20, an outstanding feat that underlines the fantastic depth and versatility of our outfit.

 

"We are delighted with our Tour of Britain, especially as this year's edition was one of the toughest since we are coming here. Unfortunately, we lost Adrien Costa to a crash on the second day, but the team did a wonderful job even in five riders and managed to take two beautiful wins and keep hold of the yellow jersey for several stages. We are very happy with the way this week went for us and now we are looking forward to the next races of September", said sport director Brian Holm at the end of the day.

 

Solid Tour of Britain for Caja Rural

Rural - Seguros RGA’s Domingos Gonçalves tried to take the sprinters by surprise with a late attack on the final lap but at the end, the peloton caught the 27-year-old Portuguese and a bunch sprint became inevitable.

Caleb Ewan (Orica) took the win, while Carlos Barbero sprinted to 11th place. In the general classification, Gonçalves moved up to 18th place after a strong week of racing. Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) won the race.
 
Due to his tenacious efforts in several breakaways during the race, Miguel Ángel Benito finished third overall in the KOM classification, while Caja Rural - Seguros RGA made eighth place in the team GC.

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