Race report

Bad luck in crash effected sprint finish at Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain

After tackling the longest stage of the race yesterday, the Tour of Britain peloton were in action for the shortest road stage of the week today, with 152 kilometres from Alderley Park to Warrington contend with. Despite some early climbs, the flatter finale lent itself to a fast finale and the first full bunch sprint finish of the race.

It was a relatively steady start to the action with a five rider breakaway escaping after ten kilometres of racing, and all Team DSM riders in the bunch. The group out front built a lead that reached a maximum of just over three minutes but as the afternoon progressed, they were slowly reeled in by the peloton. Working well as a group, the team moved forward en masse to try and position finisher Nils Eekhoff for the fast gallop to the line. On the rain-soaked and fast run in, the team did well to drop Eekhoff off on the wheels of the other sprint trains, with Tim Naberman acting as last pilot fish.

Eekhoff then followed the riders in front and was poised in a great position inside the last kilometres. However, when going around a roundabout at around 700 metres to go, a few riders slipped out in front of Eekhoff, forcing another rider to unclip who then unfortunately closed the gap between Eekhoff and the barriers, with both riders involved in a crash. Thankfully, Eekhoff was able to get back on his bike OK and complete the stage but a chance of a good result was gone. Mark Donovan and Nicholas Roche hold onto their GC placings in ninth and 11th respectively ahead of tomorrow’s stage.

“With today’s finish promising to be a sprint we saved as much energy during the race as possible,” explained Naberman. “Our initial plan was to go for a sprint with Max but unfortunately he didn’t feel his best on the bike today so we made a change of plans and prepared for a sprint with Nils. After the hilly section we came together and slowly made our way to the front with Mark doing some early positioning. We stayed calm in the front and started moving up with around ten kilometres to go. Going towards the end Nils and I stayed together, and Romain came to us and together we positioned Nils behind the first lead out train going into the last kilometre. Unfortunately, he crashed in the last corner which meant we were not able to go for the top result we were fighting for but it’s good to see he’s OK. Personally, I really enjoyed doing my first proper sprint preparation at WorldTour level, and staying together with Nils until one kilometre to go.”

Team DSM coach Phil West added: “We anticipated a day for the sprinters today and so had made the plan to sprint with Max. Unfortunately, Max had some stomach trouble during the stage and was in some difficulty, so we then made the switch to go for Nils. Again the guys did a super job, already with the original plan they were tight as unit and then worked super well together to bring Nils into the final kilometre in a great position. Unfortunately, there was a crash directly in front of him around the last corner at 700 metres to go. Several riders came down leaving Nils nowhere to go and he touched down hard but thankfully he is OK. That aside, again it was a good day for the team and the way the guys are working together as a unit here is really nice to see.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 HAYTER Ethan INEOS Grenadiers 3:33:01 20
2 NIZZOLO Giacomo Team Qhubeka NextHash ,, 10
3 MCLAY Daniel Team Arkéa Samsic ,, 5
26 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
32 NABERMAN Tim Team DSM ,, -
45 ROCHE Nicolas Team DSM ,, -
47 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
91 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM ,, -
101 KANTER Max Team DSM 12:11 -