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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, September 11, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. - Francis of Assisi

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Tour of Britain's stage six team reports

We posted the report from GC leader Ethan Hayter's INEOS Grenadiers team with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Wout van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert has won the sixth stage of the Tour of Britain. In an uphill sprint, the leader of Team Jumbo-Visma was too strong for the competition. It meant his third win this week. He brought his season total to eleven. With that, he has a good share in the team’s thirty-six victories.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert takes the sixth stage.

Teammate George Bennett chose to attack early in the stage and ended up in a front group of nine. Van Aert was in a comfortable position. At a good ten kilometres from the finish the escapees were caught.

For the Belgian champion that was the moment to attack. The Belgian had nine riders with him. Classification leader Ethan Hayter, world champion Julian Alaphilippe and Michael Woods were in his wheel. In the ascending final kilometre the exceptional qualities of Van Aert came to the surface. The rider from Herentals gave the competition a run for their money and took his third win in this Tour of Britain. Van Aert diminished the gap on Hayter in the general classification to four seconds.

"I tried to surprise the competition with that attack", Van Aert said. "That way I tried to make up some extra seconds in the classification. In the end all the competitors turned out to be in my wheel. Then I waited until the final kilometre. I was well positioned and had enough power in my legs to finish it off. It gives me great pleasure to take my third stage victory. This gives a lot of extra confidence and morale in the run-up to the coming races. In many ways the course of the World Cup is similar to this one. For now, though, I’m focusing on this race."

Van Aert foresees an exciting battle for the general classification for the next two stages. "I’m now within four seconds of Hayter. A lot will depend on the bonification seconds. Perhaps we can try something at other times as well. With a little more luck we might have gotten extra seconds earlier this week. Hayter is a strong opponent who is in good shape. I know that I didn’t miss an opportunity this week. I’m ready for what’s to come."

Here's the report from Team DSM:

Travelling from the west to the east coast, the bunch were faced with a tough day in the hills of northern England, and a 198 kilometre long route from Carlisle to Gateshead. It was a fierce start to the stage with multiple attacks and after a hard-fought 30 kilometres local rider and Penrith born, Mark Donovan, made it into the group of nine. Initially getting a gap of one minute and 30 seconds, the rest of the breakaway wasn’t happy with Donovan being present in the group and he eventually returned to the bunch alongside Hollyman.

The remaining seven rider breakaway pushed on over the hills, extending their gap to almost four minutes. Entering the last 60 kilometres the team came to the fore, with Tim Naberman riding strongly on the front of the bunch alongside some other teams to slowly reel in the breakaway. Pulling off at 25 kilometres to go, Naberman and the rest of the chasers had cut the gap to just over one minute, and heading into the last 15 kilometres it was all back together.

On one of the final uncategorised climbs an infernal pace was set and several attacks were made at the front of the peloton with a group of ten riders going clear. Donovan, Nicholas Roche and Romain Combaud formed part of the reduced chasing bunch but over the rolling terrain the strong attacking group held on to fight for the win, with the Team DSM trio following home within the bunch, ten seconds in arrears. Tomorrow sees the race head into Scotland for the penultimate stage of the event.

Romain Cambaud

Romain Cambaud (shown in 2017) was part of the chasing group that finished 10 seconds behind the winning break. Sirotti photo

“It was another hard day, on my home roads actually,” explained Donovan. “It was a nice day and experience. It was pretty active at the start with quite a lot of moves going and I ended up slipping into the breakaway. As I was relatively close on GC, Ineos didn’t want to let it go and the other guys in the break didn’t want me to be there. They started attacking me and we made the call pretty early to save energy and go back to the peloton and wait towards the final. In the end it was the right decision as there were other teams who were fighting for the finish. It came down to the last climb at 15 kilometres to go and unfortunately we didn’t quite have the legs to go with the front ten, but we finished around ten seconds behind in the chasing group. Still in top ten on GC which is nice with two days to go.”

Team DSM coach Phil West added: “It was a nice and challenging parcours today. Of course Mark was super motivated because we passed through his home town and local roads for him so that was nice. It was also a stage where several scenarios could have unfolded. We had to be smart and what the opportunities could be and how we would play it. We took care on the early breaks which were more selective this time with the WorldTour teams wanting to be in there, with Mark in there. As Mark was close on GC the rest of the break wasn’t so happy and they made it really hard for him and they attacked him, so his only option was to come back and conserve energy for later in the stage. The overall goal was to come over the main climb with all of our guys in the peloton so we could preserve ourselves for the final which we expected to be active and aggressive.

"Unfortunately, Ineos were happy to conserve their GC lead so we decided to invest with some other teams to try and catch the break, with Tim doing a great job alongside some other teams to do that. Nico, Romain and Mark did a super job but just weren’t able to follow the final selection so came in with the chasing group ten seconds behind. All in all it was a really tough day and the guys came through it in a good way, and we’re looking forward to the weekend where we’ll get stuck into the racing again."

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