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Tour of Britain 2018 Stage 7: Stannard brings it home in style

Martin James
8 Sep 2018

Team Sky get their second successive stage win, Alaphilippe retains overall lead

Team Sky's Ian Stannard won Stage 7 of the 2018 Tour of Britain in Mansfield, proving too strong for his breakaway rivals on the longest stage of the race.

Stannard had been part of a group of five riders who had gone clear quite early on the 223km stage, then as the race closed in on the finish, he picked off his rivals with a series of strong attacks.

Fellow WorldTour pro Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) proved the hardest to dislodge and once Stannard was able to open up a small gap, remaineding doggedly on Stannard's trail in a high-speed pursuit in the final 10km.

Eventually, though, even he was forced to throw in the towel, and in the end Politt finished nearly a minute down, with Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani) third and Mark McNally (Wanty-Goubert) fourth.

Race leader Julian Alaphilippe finished safely in the peloton, and retains his 17 second lead over Team Sky's Wout Poels ahead of tomorrow's final stage. 

Stage 7 in detail

After a double helping of Whinlatter Pass over the past couple of stages, Stage 7 of the 2018 Tour of Britain from West Bridgwood to Mansfield was a mainly flat affair.

At 223km it was also the longest stage of the Tour, and got underway in typically damp and grey autumnal conditions.

For new race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) it would be a day of trying to keep out of trouble and letting others take the spotlight - teammate Fernando Gaviria, for instance, looking for a first win in 2 months. 

After a few false starts, the break of the day established itself around the 30km mark. Stannard had been involved in most of those early efforts and at one point was clear on his own ahead of a chase group including Politt, Carboni, McNally, Dion Smith (Wanty Gobert) and Alex Paton (Canyon-Eisberg).

It wasn't long before Stannard was caught by the chasers, by which point Smith had sat up and returned to the peloton, his top 20 GC position clearly too much of a threat to be allowed to ride on.

The gap steadily increased from then on, passing 5 minutes at around the 70km mark as the kilometres ticked by under leaden skies.

For the next couple of hours the gap fluctuated between 5 and 7 minutes, a clear sign that the peloton was dictating the pace.

Paton took all three intermediate sprints to take the red jersey of leader in that competition, then was promptly dropped - his job for the day presumably done. Five had become four.

McNally looked the most likely to be the next to follow him, but after being distanced as the road hit a brief spike upwards, worked hard to regain contact.

The peloton, meanwhile, had started to eat into the breakaway's lead, bringing it down to around the 4 minute mark, largely thanks to the efforts of Mitchelton-Scott Quick-Step Floors.

But then the gap froze and with the kilometres steadily coming down it began to look like the breakaway might actually stay away. And 4 minutes was as close as the peloton would get, before Stannard's string of attacks took care of his rivals one by one, allowing him to cross the line in Mansfield alone and victorious.

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