TOUR OF BRITAIN
"THE QUEEN STAGE DULY DELIVERED ON WHINLATTER PASS. WOUT POELS RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS AT THE TOUR OF BRITAIN, TIMING HIS ATTACK PERFECTLY AS ALAPHILIPPE TAKES GREEN."
Wout Poels (Team Sky) took the queen stage as Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) finished in second, gaining enough time on Primoz Roglic (LottoNL Jumbo) to take the OVO Energy green maillot as overall race leader.
It was the pinchpoint at the start of the climb that set the racing alight, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) using his teammate, Bob Jungels, to break the peloton behind. Only Hugh Carthy (EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale), Wout Poels (Team Sky), Tom Pidcock (Team WIGGINS) and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL Jumbo) managing to follow.
Alaphilippe turned the screw once again to drop all but Poels and Carthy as they passed under the flamme rouge. The Frenchman began to tire in the closing 400m, allowing Poels to sprint ahead and claim the stage win.
Patrick Bevin (BMC) finished strongly to hold onto his Wahoo Points maillot, keeping it from the clutches of Alaphilippe who now lies in second in that classification.
The pace at the start of the day was electric, Quick-Step Floors and LottoNL Jumbo taking advantage of the gusty crosswinds just before Ulverston to break the race in two. Several GC contenders were caught in the initial split, as was the Skoda King of the Mountains leader, Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data).
Quick-Step Floors continued to force the rest of the peloton into the gutter as they headed towards the first intermediate sprint. It was their two GC contenders, Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels, who took first and second on the line in Ulverston, cutting the margin to Primoz Roglic (LottoNL Jumbo) at the top of the overall classification.
The pace settled down after the first intermediate sprint, allowing the groups to come back together and a breakaway to establish. The four-man escape group included British champion Connor Swift (Madison Genesis), Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) and James Shaw (Lotto Soudal).
The breakaway chose to roll over each KOM and intermediate sprint, their interest lying solely in the stage win. Matthew Holmes (Madison Genesis) and Dlamini battled for KOM scraps at the head of the peloton behind, with the Dimension Data rider doing just enough to hang onto the maillot.
The intermediate sprints maillot remains on the shoulders of Holmes, his nearest rival, Matthew Teggart (Team WIGGINS), unable to snaffle any more points on today's queen stage in the Lake District.
Tomorrow the race heads to Mansfield for the penultimate stage, a day where the sprinters are expected to challenge for the victory.