Mathieu van der Poel takes control at Tour of Britain
Mathieu van der Poel took another step toward taking the overall at the Tour of Britain by winning the race’s seventh stage on Friday.
Van der Poel accelerated from the group to take a sprint victory atop Burton Dassett, a short and steep climb in Warwickshire. His initial acceleration drew out previous race leader, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) on the hill’s lower flanks. Van der Poel then kicked again, dropping Trentin on the final push to the line.
“I knew that finishes like this, they suit me very well,” van der Poel said.
Van der Poel pumped his arms in victory, as behind, Trentin threw his arms skyward in a motion of defeat.
The stage win came a day after van der Poel retook the lead from Trentin during the race’s 14.4-kilometer individual time trial in Pershore. Van der Peol finished sixth place overall in the race against the clock, 12 seconds behind winner Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-Scott).
The result bumped van der Poel past Trentin in the standings after six days of racing.
At the finish, Trentin acknowledged van der Poel’s superior acceleration, but pointed out his own improvement, telling reporters “I stepped up a little bit. I was at least on his wheel!”
“If you race with the best and you want to compete with them you need to raise your level, especially on this kind of finish line,” Trentin said. “At the moment he is the best in the world, I don’t see anyone who can get close to him at the moment.”
Friday’s stage featured a hilly 186-kilometer route in central England, which finished with 12 laps around a hilly circuit. The day’s major breakaway was comprised of Dylan van Baarle (Team Ineos) and Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott). Van der Poel’s Corendon-Circus team controlled the pace and helped bring the peloton back to the breakaway, setting van der Poel up for the win.
“The first 70-80km’s was pretty hard actually, there were a lot of attacks and my team handled it perfectly and they did an amazing job,” van der Poel said. “The second to last time we went up the climb I knew it was up to me to be at the front and follow the groups of favourites and then I was alone in the big group, so I had to gamble a little bit again. Coming into the last ascent to the finish line I knew I had a pretty good chance to take the win again today.”
The victory is van der Poel’s second stage win at the Tour of Britain. The race concludes on Saturday with a hilly 166-kilometer stage from Altrincham to Manchester.