Tour of Britain (finale)
Basque (6th) and Briton -8th on both TT and GC, Combativity prize- join on overall top-ten after great Movistar Team performance throughout the week, with Hemel Hempstead’s exploit to be long remembered
After an eight-lap circuit race in Whitehall, in Central London, the six Movistar Team riders taking part in the 11th Tour of Britain put an end into nine intense and beautiful stages through England and Wales, where Ion Izagirre and Alex Dowsett sealed respective top-ten GC finishes -Dylan Van Baarle (GRS) took the overall with 10″ over Kwiatkowski (OPQ)-, following downright opposite trajectories.
The Briton won the heart of few fans still not loving him after his Commonwealth Games TT gold back in july with relentless fight against misfortune. After losing more than a minute on The Tumble’s mountain-top finish and following his double puncture a day later while on the break of a stage four that had his name written down on the winner’s trophy, Friday’s heroic adventure took him into a lead he lost a day later, after fighting brave and being supported by a superb Movistar Team en route to Brighton. The Essex lion, almost left without energies, had to content with an 8th spot over the 9km time trial on the banks of The Thames… and the final Combativity prize by the jury.
In turn, the Basque all-rounder proved another time while he has to be considered as a big name of the sport sooner or later. Without any racing pace following his stop after great performances in the tours of France and Poland, he will finish in 6th overall in a solid, yet silent race -he was 13th in the TT- leading the Blues. Visconti -sacrificed yesterday-, Sanz -in a great 4th into the final sprint finish-, Lastras and Szmyd also rode fantastically and contributed to the week’s outcome.