Journals Riders

Inside the Tour of Britain: Rory Townsend’s race diary #4

Rory regains the Eisberg sprints jersey but is 'massively disappointed' that the break was caught so close to the line

Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) and Ethan Vernon (Great Britain) are keeping race diaries for The British Continental throughout the Tour of Britain. This is Rory’s diary entry after stage 3

We were all just absolutely committed to going all the way to the line

Stage 3 wrap

Rory made his way into a six man breakway containing Harry Tanfield (Team Katusha Alpecin), Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling), Rob Scott (Team Wiggins Le Col) and Belgian duo Dries de Bondt (Corendon Circus) and Christophe Noppe (Sport Vlaanderen Baloise). 

Jacob Scott did a fine a job of mopping up further KOM points to extend his lead in the Skoda KOM jersey competition. Rory, meanwhile, was locked in a battle with Dries de Bondt for the sprint points. De Bondt got the better of Rory in the first two sprints, whilst Rory took the final one. It was enough for Rory to take Eisberg sprints jersey back off Bagdonas, but it means De Bondt and Bagdonas are both lurking dangerously close behind.

Despite the break getting held up twice at level crossings, they combined well and with 10 km remaining they still had around a minutes lead. It looked like they might have a chance of staving off the bunch, but they were finally reeled in as the race hit the Newcastle Quayside with one kilometre remaining.

Rory’s stage 3 diary

It was a pretty big day out! Looking at the stage before the day, I never really thought the break would be able to go as far as we ended up going. Obviously my first checkpoint was thinking about the sprints. But once we were in the break, with the riders that were there, I did think ‘okay, we had a strong group here’, particularly Harry, who was really motivated for it today. And also the fact that were six of us as well, the pure numbers game meant that it was six of us on the front and if one team controlled it, they were only going to have four or five guys committed. From that perspective alone I thought we could have a good day out.

We got a decent gap relatively easily. And then we had a little stoppage because of the first train incident. Things then carried on going ‘as we were.

Then when the second one happened, all of us [in the break] were having a chat about the day. And we said ‘we have got a good opportunity here, none of us have been riding really hard all day, we’ve still got a good, healthy time gap here, if we really commit to this, something could happen’. So we were able to have that conversation which you don’t usually get to have in a race. It really meant that we were all feeling committed. I don’t really think that any one of us was necessarily thinking about getting the win, we were all just absolutely committed to going all the way to the line. 

2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 3: Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England – Rory Townsed of Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes and Christophe Noppe of Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

And unfortunately we just came up that small bit short as the lead-outs were taking place. So it’s massive disappointment in that regard because that would have been pretty special.

The sprints weren’t my finest hour really. The first one was silly as I just went far too early into a headwind – it was amateur. And then the second one I was coming out quite fast and I just got squeezed against the barrier on the right, which to be honest is kind of what I should have done on the first sprint anyway. And then by the time the third sprint came around we were full committed for the line, so I just rode through it. I did a big turn from almost a kilometre out and just rolled over that with Dries behind me. So I’ve got an okay lead in that competition for now. I just have to keep a watchful eye on what happens over the next few days. I’m hoping to get through tomorrow with as little energy expenditure as possible, which may be quite difficult looking at the profile!

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