By Peter Hodges
Bradley Wiggins second, as Marco Frapporti takes solo victory in Somerset
Marco Frapporti (Colnago – CSF Inox) taking a solo victory in Glastonbury
The Tour of Britain leaves the South West of Britain tonight after two days of tough racing in Devon and Somerset with Michael Albasini still in the lead of the race, having maintained his 1 minute 28 second advantage over Richie Porte during Wednesday’s 178 kilometre stage from Tavistock to Glastonbury.
Winner on the day was Marco Frapporti of the Colnago – CSF Inox team, who broke away from his breakaway companions in the closing kilometres to win by 13 seconds from Bradley Wiggins, with the main field coming in over nine minutes in arrears.
Bradley Wiggins coming in second behind Frapporti
Frapporti was a member of a seven rider breakaway group that spent the majority of the stage out in front, escaping in the closing kilometres to ride alone into the packed Glastonbury town centre, where he crossed the line arms aloft head of Britain’s Wiggins.
“I was here to ride for Manuel Belletti, so I have been riding in support of my team,” said Frapporti. “But when Manuel got a virus and had to stop, then today I was able to take my own chance, which I did.”
Frapporti, who hails from Gavardo in Lombardy, described his winning move in the post-race press conference.
“I attacked with ten kilometres to go with Dan Martin. With five kilometres to go there was a false flat and I jumped then and Dan couldn’t go with me, and luckily for me I kept away.
“I didn’t even look back, because the moment you look back then you lose, so I just put my head down and went.”
With the day’s first King of the Mountains climb at Merrivale coming within the first few kilometres of racing, there was action right from the flag drop, particularly as a number of those riders looking for King of the Mountains points like Johnny Hoogerland and Richie Porte were also in overall contention, provoking a fierce chase behind.
Windy conditions on the exposed roads across Dartmoor didn’t help matters, although the dry and bright weather conditions were a marked improvement on previous days. The wind contributed to a split in the peloton, but with Albasini and the other contenders in the front group there was no fierce drive on to distance any rivals.
After an hour of racing the day’s break formed, containing Frapporti, Lucas Sebastien Haedo, Iker Camano, Michal Golas, Pieter Ghyllebert and Daniel Martin, with Heinrich Haussler and then Wiggins joining them, with the septet quickly building an advantage thanks to the lack of threat they posed the yellow jersey.
After beginning to struggle with the pace, Haussler was first dropped and then abandoned into his Cervelo team car. At the same time Wiggins rode away from the break crossing the King of the Mountains climb of Rosemary Hill as he was joined first by Golas and Camano before the rest of the escapees also caught up. The steep Category One Rosemary Hill also saw Porte and Patrick Sinkewitz attack from the peloton, but a fast chase by the HTC – Columbia headed peloton reeled them both back in after the climb.
One rider who did escape the peloton was Skil – Shimano’s Ronald Van Zandbeek, with around 35 kilometres to go, however the Dutch rider spent the rest of the stage dangling between the break and the peloton, eventually crossing the line six and a half minutes in arrears.
With ten kilometres to go, Martin, one of the stars of Stage Four who admitted before the start that his legs were only just beginning to come good attacked, and was swiftly joined by Frapporti. The duo worked well together until with five kilometres to go the Italian struck off alone, and Martin was unable to match the rise in pace.
With Martin slipping backwards to an eventual seventh, Wiggins leapt forwards and attempted to ride down Frapporti, but instead of victory only had the sight of the Colnago – CSF Inox rider crossing the line, arms aloft, 13 agonising seconds ahead of him.
“At first it was very hard, we had 15 riders with us then a group came together”, said Frapporti. “Then we went again as four and Haussler arrived, and then Wiggins. And then Haussler for some reason stopped. It was hard as it kept splitting over the hills.
“The crowd were very very friendly, and very warm. During the entire stage there were a lot of people watching and everybody was cheering and shouting so it was a very good atmosphere.
The 25-year-old also admitted to a moment’s inattention in the closing metres that almost cost him dearly, saying, “At the finish I was going too hard and I followed the motorbikes in front and almost went down the deviation, so there was fear, but it was ok.”
Frapporti becomes the eighth Italian rider to win a stage of The Tour of Britain since it’s re-birth in 2004, joining the ranks of Alessandro Petacchi and Filippo Pozzato. Italy are statistically the most successful nation in Tour history, having now won eleven stages of the race in seven editions.
While Yellow Jersey presented by Bikeability holder Albasini held onto his race lead, his bid for overall honours has been hampered by the loss of a second teammate in consecutive days, after Tony Martin abandoned with illness.
Albasini also kept possession of The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey, although thanks to the Swiss rider’s overall race lead, Sky’s Greg Henderson will once again have the honour of wearing the blue jersey.
Once again the South West proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Vacansoleil team, as Hoogerland kept hold of the King of the Mountains jersey, reinforcing his lead along the way, while Golas took control of the Sprints competition in a battle which looks set to go right down to Stage Eight in London on Saturday.
Away from the racing, Glastonbury also The Tour of Britain remember Battle of Britain Day, with a minutes silence and the release of 70 white balloons, shaped as doves.
Stage Six sees The Tour of Britain visit Norfolk for the first time ever, with the longest stage of the race, 190 kilometres from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth, visiting the likes of Sandringham, Wells-next-the-sea and Norwich on its way across the county.
Stage Five Results
1) Marco Frapporti Colnago – CSF Inox 4h 16m 10s
2) Bradley Wiggins Sky Professional Cycling Team @ 13s
3) Lucas Sebastien Haedo Team Saxo Bank @ 32s
Honda Combativity Award Winner: Pieter Ghyllebert AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team
General Classification standings (after five stages)
1) Michael Albasini Team HTC – Columbia 19h 53m 09s
2) Richie Porte Team Saxo Bank @ 1m 28s
3) Borut Bozic Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team @ 1m 32s
The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey standings (after five stages)
1) Michael Albasini Team HTC – Columbia 39pts
2) Greg Henderson Sky Professional Cycling Team 36pts
3) Koen De Kort Skil – Shimano 30pts
The King of the Mountains Jersey standings (after five stages)
1) Johnny Hoogerland Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 51pts
2) Richie Porte Team Saxo Bank 45pts
3) Dan Martin Garmin – Transitions 32pts
The Sprints Jersey standings (after five stages)
1) Michal Golas Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 23pts
2) Richie Porte Team Saxo Bank 15pts
3) Matthew Hayman Sky Professional Cycling Team 11pts
The Tour of Britain is proud to be partnered with The Prostate Cancer Charity. Don’t forget this September your chance to follow in the wheel tracks of the professionals and ride three stages from The Tour of Britain. Go to www.tourride.co.uk to find out more!