Journals Riders

Inside the Tour of Britain: Rory Townsend’s race diary #6

Rory concedes a point in the Eisberg sprints competition on a difficult day. All to play for on the final stage...

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 7

I wanted to make the break but it was difficult to make that happen in the circumstances

Stage 7 wrap

Stage 7 involved 186.5 km from historic Warwick to a finishing circuit involving three ascents of the 1.4-kilometre, 4.9% average gradient climb of Burton Dassett. With three intermediate sprints en route, Rory’s plan today had been to build on his Eisberg sprints jersey lead. Easier said than done however!

The action was furious for well over an hour as wave after wave of attacks went and were then brought back. Rory was involved in several of these but none stuck. No break had gone by the time of the first sprint, so Rory jostled with the GC men in an attempt to claim some valuable points. He could only grab 4th, however, as Van der Poel (Corendon Circus), De Buyst (Lotto Soudal) and Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) took the points. A break eventually went containing Dylan van Baarle of Team Ineos and Cameron Meyer of Mitchelton-Scott.

Rory’s main rival for the sprints jersey, Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R Mondiale) managed to slip into a counter move. And whilst he never bridged across to van Baarle and Meyer, he did pick up a point at the second intermediate sprint. Bagdonas was later swept up. Still away, Van Baarle and Meyer picked up the first two spots at the final intermediate sprint. But with third place still up for grabs, Rory once again attempted to nick a point. He launched himself earlier, only to be beaten Trentin, who made full use of Rory’s slipstream to roll him on the line.

With nothing left to play for in the Eisberg sprints competition, Rory took things more easily during the stage finale, finishing the stage 11 minutes down in 94th.

Rory’s stage 7 diary

Another really really tough day today. Everyone was refreshed a bit after a simpler day on stage 5 and then the time trial. So it was full ‘race on’ with a lot of teams still looking to get something out of the race.

2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 7: Warwick to Burton Dassett Country Park, England – Rory Townsend of Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes in the Eisberg sprints jersey, Matteo Trentin of Mitchelton-SCOTT in the Cetaphil points jersey, Jacob Scott of SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling in the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey and Mathieu van der Poel of Corendon-Circus Cycling Team in the OVO Energy green jersey. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The first hour was mental. Then there was a brief stalling when there was a move that looked to be the break of the day with my teammate Alex Colman in it. But someone obviously got on the radio to the Mitchelton and Ineos guys and the race kicked off all over again. Fair play to the Corendon guys. I think they did a really good job of controlling what felt like the uncontrollable. They did really well to try to peg van Baarle and Cam Meyer, two extremely strong riders going up the road.

My day was pretty simple in the end. I wanted to make the break but it was difficult to make that happen in the circumstances. I tried pretty hard over the top of the first sprint to get something away, but it just never seemed like the right kind of group could come together that everyone was happy with.

I had a crack at the last sprint of the day which was basically sprinting for one point. I went toe-to-toe with Trentin but he got the better of me this time. I was kind of winging it on my own to get into a position to go for it. And he’s a class rider and still chasing bonuses and the chance of winning this race overall, so fair play to him.

When it came to the finishing circuits I was quite happy just to roll in and refocus on tomorrow to try to lock down this jersey.

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