Journals Riders

Inside the Tour of Britain: Ethan Vernon’s race diary #6

Ethan tells the tale of some fine teamwork as the GB team fires Matt Walls to second on stage 5

Ethan Vernon (Great Britain) and Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) are keeping race diaries for The British Continental throughout the Tour of Britain. This is Ethan’s diary entry after stage 5

Over the past four stages we’ve been getting closer and closer to this result and it finally came today with Matt getting second

Stage 5 wrap

Ethan said he was confident the team could win a stage at this year’s Tour of Britain, and boy did they come close today.

The day’s break involved Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) – who has the KOM jersey virtually sewn up now – Matt Bostock (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), Rob Scott (Team Wiggins Le Col) and Emil Vinjebo (Riwal Readynez).

The stage then followed the familiar formula of a day-long break, a catch made in the closing kilometres and the subsequent jostling of sprint trains to put their designated sprinter in prime position.

The Great Britain team came to the fore on the final climb of Flaybrick Hill, appearing en masse to keep Matt Walls well-placed. They continued to keep themselves right at the pointy end, with Ethan putting in a big turn at the front with under 2km to go. Thanks this teamwork. their sprinter Matt Walls was perfectly positioned on Dylan Groenewegen’s wheel but just didn’t quite have the legs to top the Dutch sprinting powerhouse. Second place for Walls was nonetheless a top result against a strong field and a good reward for a fine team effort.

Ethan’s stage 5 diary

We finally got the result we’ve deserved this tour! Over the past four stages we’ve been getting closer and closer to this result and it finally came today with Matt getting second! 

The break went very early today, within the first five minutes of racing, containing mainly British Conti riders, so it wasn’t too much of a concern for us. It was pretty windy today so even though today was flat, the bunch was still lined out for the majority of the day. I punctured again, just as the pace was ramping up and with our team car being out of sight I had to get a wheel from Team Ineos to get me to the line.

I rejoined with the lads in time to move up for the final climb. We worked out on the lap we did previously that we needed to be on the left hand side of the roundabout before the climb started ,which is what we did and we were well placed going up the final climb. All of us were in the top 10 going over the top of the climb. Jake and Jim did a great job keeping us in position up here. It was then over to Rhys and Connor to keep us in position over the top and into the leadout. Me, Connor and Rhys did a solid leadout from about 2km to go. We were then passed by Jumbo-Visma’s final leadout man with about 700m to go, where Walls found Groenewegen’s wheel and got a well deserved silver! 

2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 5: Birkenhead Park to Birkenhead Park, England – Dylan Groenewegen of Team Jumbo-Visma Cycling wins stage 5 Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.co

There’s a long 2.5 hour transfer to stage 6 tomorrow, which is a 14.4 km ITT in Pershore. After being put on the long list for the U23 world championships time trial in Yorkshire, it’ll be a good tester to see where the TT legs are at before the event.

Featured photo: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com. 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 5: Birkenhead Park to Birkenhead Park, England – Matt Walls and Ethan Vernon of Great Britain Cycling Team

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