The break had its day on Stage 7 and we very nearly had the first-ever stage win by a British Continental team at the Tour of Britain. With plenty to reflect on, our diary dispatches today come from Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling DS Colin Sturgess, Canyon dhb SunGod pair Rory Towsend and Ryan Christensen, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling’s Andy Turner and Bob Donaldson from the Great Britain team.
Stage 7 from Hawick to Edinburgh was a day for the break. As on stage 6, just getting into the break was a battle in itself, with six riders eventually going decisively clear.
The sextet was Deceuninck–QuickStep pair Yves Lampaert and Davide Ballerini, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar Team) and Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo Visma) – all from the WorldTour – together with domestic team riders Matt Gibson (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) and Christopher Blevins (TRINITY Racing).
They built a lead of nearly 10 minutes and were allowed their head coming into Edinburgh as INEOS Grenadiers controlled the gap to ensure the race didn’t come back together to give Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) any opportunity to collect time bonuses to threaten Ethan Hayter’s slender 4-second race lead.
Blevins was the first to be distanced with 20 kilometres to go on an unclassified climb out of Ford before Lampaert attacked with 8.5 kilometres to go splitting the group. Jorgenson reacted first to get onto the former Belgian champion’s wheel with Gibson putting in a concerted effort to then get across to the pair reaching them with five kilometres remaining.
The trio distanced Eenkhoorn and Ballerini. Coming into Holyrood Park Gibson’s WorldTour rivals used their experience to force him to lead out the sprint.
Belgian rider Lampaert came around him to take Deceuninck–QuickStep’s first victory in the race, with Jorgenson in second and Gibson third.
Behind, race leader Hayter finished safely within the peloton to retain his overall lead and move to within a day of becoming the first British winner of the national tour in five years. Our diarist Bob Donaldson also finished with Hayter in the main bunch, while Rory rolled in nearly eight minutes back in 89th.
Rory’s teammate Jacob Scott retains both the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints jerseys and he will win both providing he finishes the final stage.
Speaking of which, stage 8 is from Stonehaven to Aberdeen over 173 kilometres and incorporates three classified climbs, including the famous climb of Cairn o’Mount early in the stage, as well as three intermediate Eisberg Sprints.
Show sponsored by Continental Tyres.
Featured photo: SWpix.com – 10/09/2021 – Cycling – AJ Bell Tour of Britain Stage 6 – Carlisle to Gateshead, England – The breakaway group featuring Rory Townsend of Canyon dhb SunGod during stage six of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain