Today’s Tour of Britain queen stage featured the race’s only summit finish and saw the General Classification contenders go head to head with Rohan Dennis taking second place on the line and moving into third overall.
A four-rider breakaway formed early into Stage 6 in Britain but, with a battle of the General Classification contenders expected on the final summit finish to Haytor, the peloton kept the group’s advantage in check never allowing it to reach beyond 3 minutes 30 seconds.
Heading toward the final two Category One climbs of the day, the formation of the peloton started to reshuffle and an injection of pace from BMC Racing Team saw the gap quickly come down to under one minute with 22km to go.
The remaining breakaway rider was eventually swept up by the peloton with 10km to go before the race headed towards an uphill battle to the finish line.
Dennis was able to attack on the early slopes of the 5.7km climb to Haytor and eventually found himself part of a select group of riders working hard at the front of the race.
Wout Poels (Team Sky) attacked going into the final kilometer and was able to hold on to a small lead to take the stage win while Dennis was locked in race against Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant Alpecin) behind him.
Dennis dug deep in the closing meters of the race and showed his strong form by accelerating away from Dumoulin to cross the line second and move into third place on the General Classification, 51 seconds behind the new race leader, Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data).
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The race really came down to that final climb today and it was pretty hard there at the end. I went early but it was an all or nothing decision in the morning. I basically thought that to win this race, I really have to open it up and hope to crack Vermote and Cummings and to do that meant I had to go early. It didn’t quite work out perfectly but it pulled me a little bit closer and with the time trial coming up I think that it could still be a pretty open race.”
“I haven’t been working on purely climbing efforts at the moment so I think I can take a lot of confidence out of the fact that I have been able to get the power out on the climbs. A lot of my training has been centered around time trials and I think what has helped me this week particularly is that I have lost a couple of kilos after Rio and that all adds up over a day of ups and downs.”
“It’s a pretty straightforward time trial I think. From the profile it is not particularly hilly and that final climb is fairly short so I think it will be a quick run in to it and we will be able to bounce over it quickly and in that sense it should suit me. I guess with the position I am in on the GC the ball is in my court so I really just have to go out there and do what I know I can do.”
Sports Director Jackson Stewart:
“We knew we could take some time on Cummings and Vermote today but we just didn’t know how much. We rode pretty strong on the penultimate climb and then Rohan rode hard up that last climb thinking about more than just the stage today. He gave it everything he had and a few guys were able to go with him. Cummings was able to come back once or twice and then Rohan was able to take more time at the line. The goal for today was to move up on the GC and try and get as close to the top spot as possible and that is exactly what Rohan did today. Now we can go into the time trial tomorrow and leave it all out there on the road to go for the stage as well as seeing what we can do on the GC. It will be a tough ask as Dumoulin and Cummings are similar time trial specialists to Rohan and I think it will be a really good battle tomorrow.”
Tour of Britain
Stage 6: Sidmouth – Haytor, Dartmoor, 149.8km
Top 3: 1. Wout Poels (Team Sky) 2. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) 3. Tom Dumoulin ( Team Giant – Alpecin)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Rohan Dennis 39. Loïc Vliegen 40. Amaël Moinard
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 3. Rohan Dennis 31. Amaël Moinard 32. Loïc Vliegen