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"You're second on GC so you try to put yourself in a position to win the GC. It's not easy as Edvald is riding really strongly and it certainly put us in a difficult situation.”

Photo: Thomas Sjørup

EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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TOUR OF BRITAIN

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11.09.2015 @ 21:14 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Team Sky battled hard on stage six at the Tour of Britain as Wout Poels remained in second place overall. The 192.7-kilometre test provided a thrilling spectacle from start to finish and Team Sky were forced to go deep in a bid to keep the race together on route to Nottingham.

 

After helping to claw back a dangerous breakaway Team Sky were unable to respond as leader Edvald Boasson Hagen attacked with 3km to go, opening out his advantage at the top of the general classification.

 

Matteo Trentin (Etixx - Quick-Step) led Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) home to win the stage after a late attack, while Poels finished 10th in a select chasing pack, four seconds back. Despite being isolated without team-mates, a gutsy late move from the former Team Sky rider saw Boasson Hagen extend his lead out to 13 seconds over Poels with two stages to go.

 

A wild opening saw the peloton split apart on the way out of Stoke on Trent. Team Sky applied pressure early and with attacks firing left and right, the vast majority of the bunch became distanced out of the equation.

 

In a select front group Poels had unwavering support from Ben Swift, Ian Stannard and Pete Kennaugh, but with a further break up the road posing a big threat, Team Sky expended a lot of energy to keep the situation in check. Poels and Boasson Hagen had gone toe to toe at the opening intermediate sprint in Buxton, and were also both forced to take turns late on before the Norwegian checked out to bolster his advantage.

 

After the stage Sports Director Servais Knaven talked Team Sky’s website through some of the difficult tactical decisions that went into a day full of hard racing.

 

"Sometimes you encounter situations that you don't find too often during a season," he told TeamSky.com. "We had a really small group at the front after just 20 kilometres. You're second on GC so you try to put yourself in a position to win the GC. It's not easy as Edvald is riding really strongly and it certainly put us in a difficult situation.

 

"You don't want to lose second place, but Edvald was in the group without team-mates so there were some games to play. But if you make a wrong move you risk losing everything. It was really hard for our riders to control but they did a great job and did everything to bring it back together. We thought Wout could possibly take some time in the final with an attack but it was not possible. Edvald proved he was the strongest out of the GC guys. Hats off to him but we gave it a good go."

 

With just the two weekend stages to go Knaven is not ready to give up on the race just yet, but admits he is very happy with how the team have ridden.

 

"There are two flat stages to go and plenty to play for. We've had a really good week up until now with the three stage wins and second on GC. We'll do our best and try to win at least another stage - that would be nice. But I'm just really impressed with our guys riding on the front day after day. We can be really happy with how we've ridden."

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