Race report

Nicholas Roche 10th and Mark Donovan 14th on steep Great Orme finish climb

Tour of Britain

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

The longest stage of the race lay ahead of the peloton this afternoon at the Tour of Britain with a challenging 210 kilometre route and a tough hill-top finish atop Great Orme in Llandudno, with its nine percent average gradient for two kilometres. With a hard day ahead, it was a steady start to the stage and a six rider group managed to escape the peloton, quickly gaining a nine minute lead with all Team DSM riders in the peloton, focusing on saving energy for the tough finale.

As the kilometres ticked by, the peloton ate into the lead of the breakaway and on the climb of Eidda’s Well a counter attacking trio broke clear. However, the bunch kept them close and the race was all back together at 40 kilometres to go. With a lull in pace, Max Kanter went on the attack in a new trio but the peloton only allowed the gap to grow out to 30 seconds and with it clear they would be caught, Kanter sat up and returned to the bunch.

Heading into the last ten kilometres the pace was high as teams fought for position at the front of the race and the rest of the break was reeled in. Nils Eekhoff did one last pull to position Mark D0novan, Nicholas Roche and Romain Combaud before the penultimate climb. With the bunch thinning down over the crest, it was then Combaud who drove the pace to bring Roche and Donovan forward ahead of the steep final two kilometres. Digging deep up the testing gradients all the way to the line, Roche took a good tenth place while Donovan wasn’t too far behind for the team in 14th. It now leaves Donovan ninth on GC with Roche in 11th, as the race reaches the halfway point.

“Today was a solid day,” explained Roche at the finish. “The team did a great job in protecting Mark and I all the way, putting us in position at the bottom of the last climb. The climb itself was brutal but we gave it everything and it was nice to get at top ten at the line.”

Team DSM coach Phil West continued: “It was another good effort from the guys today. The plan was to go all in for Mark on the hilltop finish as it was a really tough final and suited him well, and keep an eye on Nico too. The racing was quite controlled today and so it was all about being able to bring Mark into the bottom of the last climb in a forward position. At one moment the race was super active after a long and technical descent, but we were always present to cover any moves in those moments. Then after some great positioning work by the guys coming into the local lap, Mark was able to commit to the final climb from a good position. Unfortunately, he just ran out of legs in the final 800 metres but again it was a good day and another great team effort all round.”



Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VAN AERT Wout Team Jumbo-Visma 5:04:22 20
2 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 10
3 WOODS Michael Israel Start-Up Nation 0:01 5
10 ROCHE Nicolas Team DSM 0:29 -
14 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 0:37 -
34 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 1:50 -
64 NABERMAN Tim Team DSM 7:52 -
67 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 8:47 -
74 KANTER Max Team DSM 9:02 -