Posts Tagged ‘stage’

So, it’s been a while since I last put up a post here on Sweat ‘n Gears. The past few months I have been with work – a new international role that I have. As such, finding time to work on the blog has been a little hard. But making the most of a day off from work, I thought I would write up a few posts.

Last week saw the 10th edition of The Tour of Britain take place. The race had many big names take part including the likes of Mark Cavendish, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, and Garmin’s Dan Martin, to name but a few. And on Sunday the race concluded with Bradley Wiggins taking the overall honours!

One video from the event that really caught my attention was this one from the AN Post Chain Reaction team. It stems from the day Sam Bennett took the win on Stage 5. You can see (and feel) team manager, Kurt Bogaerts, well up with emotion when he hears that Sam took the win.  Enjoy the clip!

I was lucky enough to be in California at the time the Amgen Tour of California took place. So making most of my last day in the State, I took a drive up to Santa Rosa to see the start of stage 1 of the Tour. So here is a video I took of the start of the race on stage 1 – the stage that was later that day won by Peter Sagan of the Liquigas-Cannondale Pro Cycling team.

 

I’ll post pictures I took of the riders in a later post so keep an eye out for that too.

The yellow jersey sitting comfortably in the bunch on the final climb (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

23 February 2011

Stage 4: Bloukrans to George: 153 km

After a successful day in the Bay on Tuesday for Stage 3, the 300 plus convoy prepared for an early start the next day at Bloukrans Bridge just outside of the Koisan Village for Stage 4 of The Cell C Tour of South Africa.

Davide Torosantucci (D’angelo & Antenucci-Nippo) proved the strongest on this stage when he attacked with 5km to go to win the stage in the 200 year old town of George in the Western Cape.  The 29-year-old Italian finished 18 seconds ahead of Kévin Reza (Team Europcar) in second and Darren Lill (DCM) in third.

Stage 4 proved to be a hard but very exciting day of racing with plenty of attacks and counter attacks, climbing and surprise catch ups from all the teams. There wer ea number of splits in the peloton, one of which was a group at the back of about 40 riders.  Rapha Condor-Sharp  however remained up front paving the way for current leader, Kristian House who retained his title to again ride in the gold jersey in Stage 5 on Thursday.

Adamant to be part of the action, Jay Thomson tackled a steep climb and broke away from the front to form the break of the day, but, at Wilderness after riding solo for 2:30 the bunch reeled him in.

As the riders got into George, the entire race changed on the final climb when a steep ascent separated the riders again, with all the favourites being up front. The lead group of 19 was surprised when race leader House put in an attack with 7km to go and Team D’Angelo & Andenucci-Nippo’s Torosantucci took full advantage to counter-attack.   The Italian rider went on to win the stage.

The results for stage 4 are as follows:

  1. Davide Torosantucci (47) D`Angelo & Antenucci – Nippo – 03:30’22”
  2. Kevin Reza (18) Team Europcar – 03:30’40”
  3. Darren Lill (119) DCM – 03:30’40”

The overall GC results are:

  1. Kristian House (28) Rapha Condor Sharp – 11:18’14”
  2. Daryl Impey (57) MTN Qhubeka – 11:20’36”
  3. Johann Rabie (65) Team Bonitas – 11:20’36”

And here are some images highlighting stage 4:

Johann Rabie (Bonitas) attacks with Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) & Davide Torosantucci (Team Nippo) (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Davide Torosantucci counter attacks (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Torosantucci stays away to the finish & takes the win (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Davide Torosantucci (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Kristian House looking happy after a tough day in the saddle (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Stage winner and jersey leaders following stage 4 (Copyright: craigdutton.com/2011)

The jersey holders on the start line (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Even though yesterday’s stage was cancelled, there were still some great pics to come out of it. With that I would just like to say a big thanks to Michelle Cound from South African Procycling for letting me use her pictures here and in my future postings on The Cell C Tour of South Africa.

Darren Lill, the current SA road champ sharing a laugh with Kristian House (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

KOM climb - Ian Mcleod (DCM) Daryl Impey (MTN) Dan Craven (Rapha). Ian went over first followed by Daryl but no points were given because of the suspension of the stage (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

The break that worked up to a gap of 2:00 Chris Jennings (Burgos) Clint Hendricks (Tasol GT) Johann van Zyl (Toyota CSA) (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Soccer City in Soweto, one of the stadiums for the 2010 Soccer World Cup (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

Race Commissaire bringing stage 2 to an end (Copyright: Michelle Cound - procycling.co.za)

If you want to see more of Michelle’s images from stage 2, then click here.

By Peter Hodges

Vacansoleil win again, as Michael Albasini enters final stage with a minutes lead over rivals, while ‘Tour de France’ style crowds great The Tour of Britain in Suffolk and Essex

Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) taking stage 7 honours

The Vacansoleil team took their second stage win of The Tour of Britain, as Borut Bozic sprinted to victory on East Hill in Colchester, as the gradient took its toll ensuring just Greg Henderson could stay with the Slovenian rider as they reached the line.

With the drag to the line causing splits in the field, Bozic and Henderson came in three seconds up on third placed man Richie Porte, with the leading trio all collecting time bonuses to add to their advantage over race leader Michael Albasini, who came in 20th in a group 11 seconds down on the winner.

That means that Albasini now holds the Yellow Jersey presented by Bikeability by 1 minute and 5 seconds from Bozic, with Porte a further nine seconds back and Henderson two more in arrears.

The Swiss rider, who won Stage Three into Swansea on Monday, spoke after the stage of his relief at having safely negotiated the final road stage of The Tour, with just London’s circuit race remaining.

“I was always looking forward to this moment, normally in the last stage not so much happens and it should be a bunch sprint.  I am happy to still have the Yellow Jersey.  Three days ago I wasn’t so sure to bring it this far when we had just four riders in the race.

“It’s perfect now with three stage wins and hopefully also the yellow at the end in London.”

The 29-year-old though isn’t going to celebrate early, saying, “The last stage is always hard, you have to keep the concentration and it’s only over when it’s over.”

Friday’s stage was characterised by a long breakaway containing Sigma Sport – Specialized’s Tom Murray and Pieter Jacobs, which went away after 21 miles of racing.  For the second day running in the East of England massive crowds turned out to welcome The Tour of Britain to Suffolk and Essex, with sunshine and good weather greeting the riders for the start in Bury St Edmunds.

The peloton making its wat through Sudbury

With Team Sky a constant presence at the front of the peloton, the break’s lead only just rose above three minutes at its greatest, before steadily being slashed as The Tour reached Essex just after passing through Sudbury and climbing Ballingdon Hill, both described as being the scene of ‘Tour de France style crowds’, by experienced cycling journalists after the race.

With 25 kilometres of racing to go, Murray had no response when Jacobs sensed him slowing and attacked, leaving the British to be swallowed up by the peloton.  Ahead the Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator rider persevered on alone, before being caught with five kilometres remaining on the outskirts of Colchester.  But with an uphill drag to the line awaiting it wasn’t going to be conventional bunch gallop, as Bozic and Henderson crested the rise ahead, with the Slovenian coming through to take the win, much to his and his teammates joy.

Speaking afterwards, former Vuelta a Espana stage winner Borut Bozic said, “For me this is a big victory because there are a lot of good riders here.  It doesn’t matter where it is; every race is hard to win.”

Bozic also commented on his team, who have featured prominently throughout The Tour, saying, “We are a good team and we help each other a lot.  There is also, as you can see, a good team spirit.”

Teammate Johnny Hoogerland sealed the overall King of the Mountains and now just has to finish Stage Eight to claim the polka dot jersey, and spoke afterwards of his happiness to take a jersey, although his overall aspirations have not come to fruition.

“Yesterday I was pretty sure of the jersey”, said the Dutchman, “But with today it could have happened that 15 riders had gone with Richie (Porte) and stolen the points, so you never know.

“During the last few stages I have been taking the most points, but it was on the fourth stage when I took the jersey that it was good for me.  I’m very happy to bring it home.

Hoogerland also praised The Tour of Britain’s route, saying, “You always have hilly and flat stages so I think it’s normal.  They could have stayed in the South West the whole week, but I think that’s not fair for the sprinters!  For me, two extra stages in the South West would probably have been better, and then maybe Albasini wouldn’t have got his jersey still.

“Some teams are probably less motivated because it is only a 2.1 category race, but for us they are all big races.  I looked at the programme for September and I said ‘I want to do The Tour of Britain’, because I think it’s a beautiful race.”

The Vacansoleil rider also praised Suffolk and Essex for their role in hosting Stage Seven of the race, explaining, “There are a lot of people!  It was actually more beautiful than I expected, because in every village there are fans, I think all the schools are empty for the race, and it’s lovely to be here.”

The peloton going through Suffolk

The final stage of The Tour of Britain takes place in Newham, London’s Olympic and Paralympic Borough, with a 96 kilometre circuit race around the historic Royal Dockyards and London’s ExCeL Centre.

Before the racing gets underway and the winner of the 2010 Tour of Britain is crowned amateur cyclists will have the chance to take part in the second of this year’s Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Rides, offering the unique opportunity to ride an official stage of The Tour in London.

The Tour of Britain is in the second year of its successful partnership with The Prostate Cancer Charity, who are sponsoring the coveted blue Points Jersey, currently worn by Team Sky’s Greg Henderson.

Mark Bishop, Director of Fundraising at the Charity, said: “By turning the Points Jersey blue, we are demonstrating the commitment of each party to this partnership which has proved hugely beneficial.

“Our first of three events this month went exceptionally well last weekend, in the South West. We believe the unique proposition of riding in the tracks of the pros has added something fresh and credible to the sportive calendar.

“Through the partnership, we have been able not only to raise awareness of prostate cancer in the men we are trying to reach – but given all cyclists something challenging and active to do to support the cause.”

Cyclists get a further chance to ride a Tour of Britain stage on Sunday 26th September, when The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride takes place at Stoke-on-Trent over the tough of Stage Two of The Tour.  To find out more visit www.tourride.co.uk

Stage Seven Results

1) Borut Bozic                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling             3h 24m 15s

2) Greg Henderson                        Sky Professional Cycling Team  @ same time

3) Richie Porte                              Team Saxo Bank                       @ 3s

Honda Combativity Award Winner: Pieter Jacobs         Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

General Classification standings (after seven stages)

1) Michael Albasini                        Team HTC – Columbia               27h 26m 40s

2) Borut Bozic                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    @ 1m 05s

3) Richie Porte                              Team Saxo Bank                       @ 1m 14s

The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey standings (after seven stages)

1) Greg Henderson                        Sky Professional Cycling Team  62pts

2) Borut Bozic                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    57pts

3) Koen de Kort                            Skil – Shimano                          50pts

The King of the Mountains Jersey standings (after seven stages)

1) Johnny Hoogerland                   Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    56pts

2) Richie Porte                              Team Saxo Bank                       45pts

3) Wout Poels                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    31pts

The Sprints Jersey standings (after seven stages)

1) Michal Golas                             Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    31pts

2) Richie Porte                              Team Saxo Bank                       20pts

3) Johnny Hoogerland                   Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    16pts

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!

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!

By Peter Hodges

Dutch team take one-two in Teignmouth, but Albasini holds onto race lead

Wout Poels (Vacansoleil) takes stage 4 of The Tour of Britain

The South West boasts that is a destination for serious cyclists, and the Vacansoleil Pro Cycling team certainly showed that they are serious about winning the overall Tour of Britain with an aggressive ride across the South West peninsula from Minehead to Teignmouth, which ended in a stage win for Dutchman Wout Poels.

Poels attacked a select group of riders on the road into Teignmouth, soloing to a five second week over a group of seven chasers who came agonisingly close to catching the Vacansoleil rider on the long finishing straight.

Instead though Poels held on to win from his teammate Borut Bozic, who moves into third overall in The Tour of Britain.  Finishing in the same group as Bozic were other General Classification contenders Richie Porte, Johnny Hoogerland and race leader Michael Albasini, but previous yellow jersey Greg Henderson lost a further ten seconds to slip to fourth overall, as well as losing his grip on The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey.

Also starring during Stage Four from Minehead to Teignmouth was Dan Martin, who collected the Honda Combativity Award for his constant attacking, that led to the Irishman spending much of the day out in front, as once again poor weather conditions hit The Tour of Britain.

Once again the day started off with a flurry of attacks as The Tour headed away from the West Somerset Railway in Minehead and up onto Exmoor.  First to escape was a group containing Martin and Kristian House, to which Russell Downing bridged across to.  Despite building a relatively large advantage, the Vacansoleil driven field reeled them back in, as the Dutch squad looked to set up its trio of riders who began the day in fourth, fifth and sixth positions overall.

Garmin’s Martin then went solo on the King of the Mountains climb of Lype Hill, building a half minute advantage.  Behind with Vacansoleil driving the peloton began to split up, with a number of riders beginning to struggle instantly.  For several that would be the last contact they had with the rest of the field for the entire stage.

Dan Martin (Garmin Transitions)

Thanks to the Vacansoleil pressure a chasing group formed, including the Yellow Jersey, plus rivals Porte and eventual stage winner Poels.  This group gradually grew as riders made it across, swelling to become the de facto peloton as the previous ‘main’ field split apart, with some riders heading forwards across the gap and others going backwards to form a gruppetto early on.

At the front Bozic then tried his hand, swiftly building a 30 second lead, which was equally swiftly eroded thanks to his threatening overall status.  Next to escape was Martin again, going clear with Matthew Hayman, Ronan Van Zandbeek, Gianluca Mirenda and Vacansoleil duo Matteo Carrara and Bozic.  Once again a lead was built before HTC – Columbia began to ride down the gap, making the catch just before Albasini punctured, but the Swiss rider was swiftly helped back to the front group by teammates Andre Greipel and Tony Martin, with no damage done to his position in the race.

After dropping down to the north Somerset coast, the road began to climb once more, back onto Exmoor for the Ralegh’s Cross King of the Mountains with Vacansoleil still pilling on the pressure.  At the back the large group of riders in the gruppetto began to sit up, prompting a large time gap come the finish on the south Devon coast.

On the climb Dan Martin attacked once again, taking Bozic with him before the Slovenian relented leaving the Garmin rider alone.  This wasn’t to last for long however, as Hayman and Hoogerland joined him, quickly building a minutes lead as the race crossed into Devon, with grew to almost two minutes after 47 miles of racing.

With the gap going past two minutes making Hoogerland the virtual Yellow Jersey, HTC – Columbia were forced into a chase, with Team Saxo Bank also joining them to protect Porte’s high general classification placing.

By Peak Hill above Sidmouth the gap was back at two minutes, and thanks to the pressure of HTC and Saxo Bank this figured continued to fall, with Albasini thankful to again have Tony Martin at his side as he punctured on the descent to Otterton.

Passing through twenty kilometres to go as the race neared Exeter and crossed the Exe Estuary the three leaders were just 34 seconds in front, prompting an attack from Martin which shedded his two accomplices, most crucially GC threat Hoogerland.

However the chase didn’t abate, with Vacansoleil now driving across to the leader, splitting the leading group on the road still further.  Once caught Martin began to fell back as repeated attacks raining in, with Porte twice trying to ride himself of the other leading riders on the numerous dips and peaks of the coastal roads.

Coming out of Dawlish Poels surged ahead to no avail, but it was his second attack a few kilometres later on the final rise outside of Teignmouth that proved to be more productive, as the Dutchman countered an attack by Domenico Pozzovivo to go over the top of the Colnago rider and onto the fast descent into Teignmouth.

Switching down through the town, Poels turned onto the finishing straight clear of his rivals, holding off the charging group despite a fierce cross-headwind on the seafront finish.

“Today was a super day”, said the 22-year-old.  “In the beginning we did a lot of work on the first climb to drop alot of guys and that was pretty good.  And then Johnny attacked and I thought he had a good chance to win, but HTC – Columbia started riding with Saxo Bank and it came back, so there was the chance for me to win the stage.

“I attacked at eight kilometres before the finish, but they brought me back.  I had a little bit of recuperation but then I attacked again at four kilometres before the finish, and then they didn’t see me anymore!

“I knew it was difficult with a lot of corners, but I took a little bit of a risk and thought when I can win a stage or crash, then I have to make a choice.  I took a little bit of a risk, but everything was going good.

“It was a really hard race, with the three climbs and directly from the start it was hard, but it was a nice day.”

“It’s part of my character, attacking,” said Poel’s Vacansoleil teammate and King of the Mountains jersey wearer Johnny Hoogerland.

“With the team we wanted to make the race hard.  We knew HTC – Columbia have a very strong team, but also (Mark) Renshaw and (Andre) Greipel aren’t the riders who can close the gaps in the hills.  So from the start we decided to make it hard.  Michal Golas did a little sprint and then Wout did nearly the whole climb and then (Patrick) Sinkewitz attacked and we were just ten riders.  Then it came back and then we went again.”

“It was first 30 seconds, then 40 seconds and then four minutes, and I was thinking ‘I am going to get the General’, and I told the other guys I don’t sprint for the victory, I just want to have the general, but then Saxo Bank also started riding, I don’t know why they did.”

“I’m happy for Wout because this year he made a lot of progression, won a stage at the Tour de l’Ain and he’s going to the World Championships.  I think it is significant how he did it, because Greipel and Albasini were riding full gas and still they couldn’t catch him.”

On his chances over overhauling Albasini’s race lead, Hoogerland said, “I think it’s going to be difficult, but we are not sitting in the peloton tomorrow, we still keep fighting.”

Stage Five sees The Tour of Britain remaining in the South West, as Devon and Somerset prove they are top destinations for serious cyclists with another tough stage through world-class scenery.  Beginning in Tavistock, riders will tackle 178.2 kilometres of tough roads, passing across Dartmoor and through Cullumpton and Ilminster on their way to Glastonbury.

Stage Four Results

1) Wout Poels                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    4h 30m 35s

2) Borut Bozic                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    @ 5s

3) Koen De Kort                            Skil – Shimano                          @ same time

Honda Combativity Award Winner: Dan Martin, Garmin – Transitions Pro Cycling Team

General Classification standings (after four stages)

1) Michael Albasini                        Team HTC – Columbia               15h 27m 41

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 four stages)

1) Michael Albasini                        Team HTC – Columbia               39pts

2) Greg Henderson                        Sky Professional Cycling Team  36pts

3) Borut Bozic                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    28pts

The King of the Mountains Jersey standings (after four stages)

1) Johnny Hoogerland                   Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    45pts

2) Richie Porte                              Team Saxo Bank                       45pts

3) Wout Poels                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    31pts

The Sprints Jersey standings (after four stages)

1) Richie Porte                              Team Saxo Bank                       15pts

2) Matthew Hayman                       Sky Professional Cycling Team  11pts

3) Borut Bozic                               Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    8pts

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!