Tour of Britain: Van der Poel surges to stage victory
Look out world, Mathieu van der Poel is on top form.
Van der Poel (Correndon-Circuis) surged into the lead at the Tour of Britain by winning Tuesday’s fourth stage from Gateshead to Kendal.
The Dutchman put in an explosive acceleration in the closing meters of the 173.2-kilometer stage to distance the peloton on a sharp rise just before the finish. Van der Poel’s acceleration was so decisive that he had plenty of time to coast across the line with his arms raised in victory.
“It was a bit of gamble because I didn’t really know where the finish line was,” Van der Poel said of his push to the finish line “I got bumped in yesterday and I didn’t want that to happen again today, so I went full gas 300 meters to go. It was a bit far but got I got a gap and the final 100m was a bit easier.”
The eye-popping victory is proof that van der Poel his hitting his stride at the perfect time to contest the upcoming UCI road world championships, held not far from Kendal in the Yorkshire Dales national park. Van der Poel comes into the race as one of the favorites to win, due to the course’s hilly profile and punchy final circuit through the finishing town of Harrogate.
With his move, Van der Poel tracked down a three-rider breakaway that appeared destined to go the distance in the stage. Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), James Shaw (Swift Carbon), and Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) got away with 17km remaining, and held a small gap on the field into the final kilometer.
As the three riders jockeyed for position, van der Poel shout out of the group, caught and passed them, and then surged away for the win. Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal) and Simon Clarke (EF Education First) following him home and completing the podium.
Previous leader Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) finished in ninth place and conceded his race lead. Van der Poel is ahead by a second.
“It’s really nice to win this stage,” van der Poel said. “It was a really, really hard stage, with lots of climbing.”