We have a slimmed-down core of dispatches in today’s episode from our three regular audio diarists: Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling DS Colin Sturgess, Andy Turner (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Canyon dhb SunGod’s Rory Townsend.
Don’t be fooled though. While the episode may be lighter in contributors than normal, it packs a punch when it comes to drama. An episode not to be missed.
On the face of it, stage 5 was a straightforward affair. A break went up the road, it was caught in the closing stages and it ended in the expected sprint finish. But a crash on the final bend meant that it wasn’t the duke-out for bonus seconds between race leader Wout van Aert and second-placed Ethan Hayter that we’d all expected.
The day’s break once again consisted of five riders, including four from the British domestic teams. These were short-track cross-country mountain bike world champion Christopher Blevins (TRINITY Racing), Dan Bigham (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling), Leon Mazzone (Saint Piran), Nickolas Zukowsky (Rally Cycling) and perennial breakaway member Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod).
Scott has somehow mustered the energy to make the break on every single road stage so far. He once again dominated the points scoring in the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints competitions and unsurprisingly now has commanding leads in both.
Bigham, Blevins, and Zukowsky, meanwhile, lasted well into the finish town of Warrington and were only with only 1.8 kilometres of racing remaining.
As the bunch hit the final bend, Owain Doull crashed out on the wet, greasy roads, taking out several other riders on the process, including Rory. Van Aert was caught behind the melee, as were many others, meaning only select few riders fought it out for the win.
It was Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers) who took the honours ahead of European Champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka NextHash), Dan McLay (Team Arkéa Samsic) and 18-year-old American TRINITY Racing rider Luke Lamperti. The win was Hayter’s 7th UCI road win of the season, and the 38th by a Brit this year.
All this meant that Hayter retakes the overall race lead from van Aert, thanks to the ten bonus seconds he picked up at the line.
The sixth stage of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain crosses the Pennines from Carlisle to Gateshead over 198 kilometres, with the finish alongside Sir Antony Gormley’s world-famous Angel of the North. With three first category ŠKODA King of the Mountains climbs – at Hartside, Killhope Cross and Burtree Fell – during the route through Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland it could be another day where the overall lead changes hands. An Alaphillipe long-range attack anyone?
Show sponsored by Continental Tyres.
Featured photo: SWpix.com – 09/09/2021 – Cycling – AJ Bell Tour of Britain Stage 5 – Alderley Park to Warrington, England – The AJ Bell Tour of Britain Peloton