Yorkshire: Van Avermaet takes final stage while Lawless wins overall
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC-Team) won the three-up sprint in Tour de Yorkshire’s fourth and final stage on Sunday. He beat his GC rival Chris Lawless (Team Ineos) into second place, with Team Ineos’ Eddie Dunbar coming third.
Lawless’ second place, finishing on the same time as Van Avermaet, was enough to secure him the overall victory, and a GC win for his team on their first race. Van Avermaet came second overall, two seconds back, while Dunbar came third. Stage three winner Alexander Kamp (Riwal-Readynez), who was second in overall at the start of the day, was pushed off the podium to fourth place.
The 175km stage to Leeds was without the block headwinds that greeted the peloton on stage 3, however, the barrage of short steep climbs throughout the day made it an equally tough race.
The racing entered the crucial stages at around 50km to go. With the early breakaway fragmenting and starting to lose ground, Riwal-Readynez started upping the pace in the now-reduced peloton of around 40 riders, which included all the GC contenders.
The GC group stayed together until 20km to go, at which point Chris Froome (Team Ineos) began a phase of powerful, aggressive racing by Team Ineos. He attacked hard on the final climb of the day, drawing out Van Avermaet and bringing teammate Dunbar with him. The young Irishman then pressed on alone, and mopped up several of the remnants of the breakaway, before briefly forming a trio with the two escapees who were still in the lead.
Meanwhile, Van Avermaet and Froome had dropped back to the GC group. With 5km to go, Van Avermaet attacked, looking to take the six seconds he needed on Lawless to top the GC. Lawless stuck with the Belgian, and with two kilometers to go, they formed a lead trio with Dunbar. The three worked together to stay out front as Riwal-Readynez continued to pull for Kamp.
Dunbar led the trio into the final straight, and Van Avermaet came around him to win the stage. However, with Lawless on his wheel, he was unable to gain the time required for the GC win.