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Tour of Britain 2019: Mathieu van der Poel wins again on Stage 7

Jack Elton-Walters
13 Sep 2019

An entertaining day at the Tour of Britain with riders not yet ready to give up on the overall win, but none could match Van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel (Correndon-Circus) won Stage 7 of the 2019 Tour of Britain by beating his nearest GC rival Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) on the final steep ascent of the day into Burton Dassett Country Park.

The exciting finish came after a stage that started rapidly as the riders battled for bonus seconds at the early intermiadate sprint. And it ended just as quickly as the strongest riders fought to position themselves for the stage win.

Frenetic start to the day

With the overall standings so tightly packed going into the stage and the lure of time bonuses on offer at the first sprint 20km in, there was no question of a breakaway being allowed to go clear early on.

Starting the day second after surrendering the overall lead on the previous day's time-trial, Trentin sent his Mitchelton-Scott teammates to the front to lead him up to the sprint point with the aim of taking the three second time bonus.

But the effort was in vain as the race's current leader, Van der Poel, was first across the line, while Trentin was pushed down to third by Jasper de Buyst (Lotto-Soudal), who started the day fourth overall.

This result saw Van der Poel ease out his lead at the top of the standings by a further two seconds to eight and De Buyst's second place lifted him to virtual joint-third with Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos).

Having been the only one of the top four not to pick up a time bonus, Sivakov and his Ineos teammates hit the front, riding aggressively and keeping the pace high.

Where normally this would be the logical point for a breakaway away to head down the road – and a succession of riders tried – the pace throughout the peloton stayed high as attack after attack was launched, brought back and countered.

Eventually a group got away to build an advantage of around 30 seconds but those who'd missed the move repeatedly tried to bridge. Dylan van Baarle (Team Ineos) was particularly active on the front of the main peloton.

The back of the peloton was a single line of riders struggling to stay in touch as the route made its way through suburbia. One of those in trouble was a teammate of Van der Poel, which meant the race leader would be short of support once the race reached the punchy finishing circuit.

Calm and far more formulaic

No sooner had one break been brought back than another was launched, This time it was Van Baarle and Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) trying their luck, and finally the pace in the peloton eased off and the pair worked well together to quickly build a double-digit lead. From there the stage became much more formulaic.

By this point Meyer was the virtual leader of the race, which put pressure on Correndon-Circus to up the pace of the peloton and start reeling in the two leaders.

Trentin took the single bonus second still available at the third intermediate sprint of the day, while Van der Poel saved his energy and didn't contest the prime.

Inside the final 40km, the Madison Genesis duo of Matt Holmes and Jon Dibben launched. Dibben sat on the front and did a huge turn for the his teammate on the steep ascent of Sun Riding Hill before pulling the plug and leaving Holmes to go solo.

Finishing circuit

By the time the lead riders entered the finishing circuit for the first time with 30km to go, their advantage had dropped under two minutes. 

On the first time up the steep finishing climb, Van Baarle put Meyer temporarily in trouble. In the peloton, Van der Poel was visible towards the front, though with only  two remaining teammates ahead of him.

Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro) popped up at the last moment to take third (behind the breakaway duo) at the summit to gain more points towards the KOM jersey, of which he is already the holder.

With 15km to go, Mark Cavendish (Dimenson Data) came to the front and set the pace on the peloton as he clearly knew the circuit wouldn't suit him but could offer opportunities to others in his team.

Hitting the climb for the second time, Van Baarle again left Meyer behind, whose day was clearly done. In the peloton behind, meanwhile, it all kicked off as gaps started to open up between the riders on the steep ascent.

Of the leading GC contenders, Sivakov hit out first but soon had Van der Poel on his wheel. The pair then slowed, allowing riders like Trentin to regain contact. Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos) attacked next, Van der Poel countered and again Sivakov latched on behind.

A grimacing Van Baarle kept on riding after reaching the summit, while the reduced peloton were all back together with many riders able to get back on terms during the lulls between attacks.

James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro) ended Van Baarle's time in the lead with 7.4km to go as he led a group up to and past the Dutchman. Van Baarle's teammate Ben Swift, in the jersey of British National Champion, was present in the group and a possible threat to the overall with a deficit of only 49 seconds.

The new breakaway group of five worked well together, and had built a 15-second advantage with 5km to go.

Movistar and Mitchelton-Scott took charge of the chase while Van der Poel found himself without teammates long before the final ascent.

With 1km to go the lead group of five still held an advantage of eight seconds over the chasing peloton but with the peloton in full cry behind, they weren't able to hold on to the finish line.

Crowd support for Mark Cavendish