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After a long day in the break, Trentin was caught by Boasson Hagen two kilometres from the finish; the Italian won the two-rider sprint while the Nrowegian extended his overall lead

Photo: A.S.O.

DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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MATTEO TRENTIN

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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TOUR OF BRITAIN

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11.09.2015 @ 17:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Matteo Trentin took the third stage win for Etixx-QuickStep in the Tour of Britain when he came out on top on a very hard stage 6. Having been on the attack all day, the Italian was caught by race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) just 2km from the finish and after the Norwegian had set the pace, he easily won the two-rider sprint. Boasson Hagen extended his lead over Wout Poels (Sky) to 13 seconds.

 

Many expected Sky and Etixx-QuickStep to play a big role in the Tour of Britain but the two teams have turned out to be completely dominant. After Sky took their third stage win yesterday, the Belgians hit back with their victory in today’s hard sixth stage.

 

After the previous victories for Fernando Gaviria and Petr Vakoc, it was the in-form Matteo Trentin who came out on top in the final hilly stage of the race. The Italian finished off an impressive ride on the attack on a day when the peloton exploded to pieces already in the first kilometres of the lumpy stage.

 

Trentin had been part of a 6-rider break that had escaped after the frantic first hour and the fast pace made it a day of attrition. Only 24 riders were left in the main group at this point and it was Sky that controlled the race all day as race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen was isolated.

 

Trentin had joined forces with Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal), Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Garmin) and Stefan Küng (BMC) and they had been joined by Robert Kiserlovski (Tinkoff-Saxo) when they entered the final 35km.

 

At one point, the front group managed to reopen their advantage to 1.25 but Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift were still riding strongly in the peloton and they managed to reduce it to just 40 seconds with 36km to go.

 

Sensing that they were losing ground, Izagirre decided to attack and this time no one was able to follow him. He got an immediate advantage and extended his lead to 55 seconds. At the same time, Kennaugh disappeared from the front of the peloton, leaving it to Swift to set the pace.

 

Trentin, Küng and Debusschere managed to rejoin Izagirre with 28k to go where the gap was still 45 seconds. At this point, Kennaugh got back to the front to take one final turn before he swung off for good.

 

Langeveld, Tankink and Kiserlovski were all brought back before Stannard took over the pace-setting. The former British champion did all the work to keep the gap stable at 45 seconds for several kilometres.

 

The situation was unchanged with 16km to go and this forced Boasson Hagen to come to the fore. Swift also started to take turns again and it was a trio that traded pulls as they entered the final 15km. Here Izagirre led Tankink and Küng over the line in the final intermediate sprint.

 

The added firepower had an effect and so the gap was down to 35 seconds with 13km to go. Now Poels also felt the need to do some work as Izagirre was a threat to his second place.

 

The chase got even more momentum when Antwan Tolhoek (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Rasmus Quaade (Cult) started to work as well but the gap was still 30 seconds when the peloton entered the final 11km.

 

The leaders were now tiring and so the front group lost 15 seconds very quickly. This prompted Trentin to launch an attack with 9.5km to go and he fought hard to maintain a small 10-metre advantage for a while.

 

Küng was doing all the chase work and when he cracked, Trentin extended his advantage. The Swiss still had some power to try one desperate attack when the three chasers were caught but it was impossible to stay clear.

 

Boasson Hagen took some huge turns on the front but the gap had still gone out to 20 seconds when Trentin entered the final 6km. Danilo Wyss also started to chase for BMC but as riders started to tire, the chase got less organized.

 

With 3km to go, Boasson Hagen showed impressive strength as he powered clear of the peloton. He quickly approached the fading Trentin and made the junction with 2km to go.

 

Boasson Hagen went straight to the front and set the pace for the next kilometre while Cannondale-Garmin started to chase with Dylan van Baarle. As they passed the flamme rouge, the race leader briefly tried to ask Trentin to take a turn but when the Italian refused, he started to ride again.

 

Boasson Hagen finally launched his sprint from the front but Trentin easily passed him to take the win. Owain Doull (Wiggins) easily won the sprint for third just a few seconds later.

 

Boasson Hagen should get a significantly easier day tomorrow. The penultimate stage is a massive 227km long but only includes three very small category 3 climbs. However, bad weather is forecasted and could make a sprint stage more complicated.

 

A hilly stage

After yesterday’s queen stage, the riders had one more hilly stage to tackle on day 6 when they covered 192.7km from Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham. The first two thirds were very hilly with constant ups and down, including three category 2 climbs in the middle section. However, the final summit was located 55km from the finish and from there it was significantly flatter.

 

It was another nice day for a bike race when the riders gathered for the start. Everybody knew that it would be war right from the beginning and that prediction turned out to be true as there were lots of attacks on the many hills in the early part of the stage. That was too much for Hugh Carthy (Great Britian)  and Andy Hawdon (Raleigh) who abandoned after just a few kilometres.

 

Boasson Hagen on the attack

Several small groups got clear in the hectic opening part but whenever the riders were about to be identified, they were brought back. However, things got dangerous when race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) was suddenly in a 3-rider move and as Sky was chasing hard, the peloton split in two, with a big gruppetto being formed already very early in the stage. Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) hit the deck and was forced to abandon.

 

29 riders had made the front group after the trio had been brought back and they were still together after a very fast first hour. At this point, Boasson Hagen increased his overall lead when he beat Owain Doull (Wiggins) and Wout Poels in the first intermediate sprint.

 

Sky in control

Five riders briefly formed what looked like a promising move but Sky brought them back. Meanwhile, Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) was dropped from the main group while the 80-rider gruppetto had already been distanced by 5.15.

 

Tao Geogeghan Hart and Ian Stannard both suffered punctures but managed to rejoin the group while the attacking continued. In fact, both were part of a promising move alongside Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Garmin) and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) which quickly got an advantage of 30 seconds.

 

A strong group gets clear

Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin), Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep), Stefan Küng (BMC), Steven Küng (BMC), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) joined the group and this forced Sky to chase hard. The gap stayed between 20 and 45 seconds for a while until Poels and Boasson Hagen managed to bridge across on the first climb of the day after Peter Kennaugh (Sky) had done a huge work. The British champion was then getting dropped.

 

Stannard led Poels, Geoghegan Hart, Küng and Trentin over the top before Boasson Hagen took off in a solo move. At this point, the main group had been distanced by 14.20.

 

The break is formed

Van Baarle had a flat but managed to rejoin the front group. However, it all came back together and instead a new group with Langeveld, Trentin, Stannard, Küng and Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) got clear. Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) and Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumb) bridged the gap and they quickly got an advantage of 1.25 over the 24-rider main group. The gruppetto had been distanced by 21.10.

 

Stannard dropped back to his teammates, leaving just 6 riders to press on. They kept a gap of around a minute while Kennaugh and Ben Swift set the pace in the peloton.

 

Puncture for Debusschere

With 75km to go, Debusschere suffered a puncture but he managed to make it back to the group as they hit the second climb. Here Kennaugh and Swift accelerated had and when Tankink led Izagirre and Lobato over the top, the gap was down to just 30 seconds.

 

The leaders managed to reopen their advantage to 55 seconds with 68km to go but then they again started to lose ground. As they hit the final climb with 58km to go, the gap was down to just 25 seconds as Kennaugh and Swift continued to ride strongly.

 

Izagirre accelerates

The small gap forced Izagirre to accelerate on the climb. Debusschere and Trentin were the first to get dropped and later Langeveld and Tankink also had to surrender. Further back, Robert Kiserlovski (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked from the main group.

 

The four dropped riders combined forces before Izagirre led Küng over the top. Tankink led his group to the summit while Kiserlovski was just a few metres behind. The Croatian made the junction just a few moments later.

 

As they entered the final 50km, Küng and Izagirre had a 30-second advantage over their chasers while the peloton is at 50 seconds. While the gap to the peloton stayed relatively stable, the chasers gradually closed the gap and they made the junction with 38km to go. They didn’t stay together for long and it was Trentin who ended up winning the stage.

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