Journals Riders

Inside the Tour of Britain: Ethan Vernon’s race diary #9

With his sights now set on the U23 world championships in Yorkshire, Ethan comes away from the Tour of Britain with a lot confidence

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

Riding the Tour of Britain has given us all a lot of confidence. None of us were expecting to be the last team leading our sprinter out

Stage 8 wrap

Ethan and his teammates had hoped they could set up Matt Walls for a win on home roads on the eighth and final stage of the Tour of Britain. After a frantic of racing around all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, however, it was Mathieu Van der Poel (Corendon–Circus) who once again took the stage honours to emphatically seal the overall victory. The Great Britain team’s nearest challengers were Connor Swift, who finished 11th, and Jake Stewart, who was 14th; solid results from a reduced bunch finish after a tough day out.

The race went according to plan for Great Britain in the first part of the stage, Corendon–Circus and the Jumbo Visma controlling the breakaway of Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis), Gabriel Cullaigh (Team Wiggins Le Col) and Emil Vinjebo (Riwal Readynez). But the race erupted into life approaching the infamous climb of the Rake above Ramsbottom as Team INEOS hit the front. The race split to pieces, and Ethan and most of his teammates didn’t see the front of the race again.

Ethan finished 52nd on the stage in the second group on the road, just over 6 minutes down. That gave him a final position of 63rd in the general classification. The second youngest rider in the race, Ethan can reflect on some impressive teamwork throughout the week. And completing such high calibre race is no mean feat in itself for someone just turned 19.

Ethan’s stage 8 diary

The final stage was not the finish we were after. We wanted to have another shot of trying to get Matt a stage win, but there’s not much more we could have done. We positioned the lads well (including Matt) going into the climb. Then Ineos decided to get 6 men on the front and go flat out! Matt and I were about 15th wheel but we just ran out of legs over the top of the climb to hold onto the front group of 40ish (which included Jake and Connor). 

2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 8: Altrincham to Manchester, England – Great Britain Cycling Team. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Going over the top, I was with Matt in the chasing group of about 10, with Jim and Rhys in the group behind. I was riding really hard to get him across to the front group but Ineos were also riding really hard, so it was pretty tough! There weren’t enough of us in the group with good legs to ride the gap down, so the time difference just went out and out, especially over the next steep climb where the lead group were going flat out. 

Our group was caught by Rhys and Jim’s group. The three of us rode on the front pretty hard all the way to the line for Matt, just on the slight off chance that the front group eased up. 

The crowds on the stage were insane and it made it very special for us, being our home stage. It was nice to see familiar faces out cheering us on at the side of the road. 

I’m back in Manchester now in our Academy house. I’ve had a couple of easy days but I’m now back on my TT bike working on my position and getting ready for my possible selection for the Yorkshire Worlds next week. After the Worlds, I’ve planned to take just 8 days off the bike before getting back on the track and hopefully getting stuck into some of the track World Cups that start quite early in the winter season.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 08/09/2019 – Cycling – OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 2: Kelso to Kelso, Scotland – Ethan Vernon of Great Britain Cycling Team.

Riding the Tour of Britain has given us all a lot of confidence. None of us were expecting to be the last team leading our sprinter out. And it happened a couple of times! And then for Matt to come away with a 2nd, beating big names like Trentin, was very special.

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 14/09/2019 – Cycling – OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 8: Altrincham to Manchester, England – Great Britain Cycling Team

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