Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) took his third stage of the Tour of Britain on Saturday, and with it secured overall victory in the race.
The Dutchman won the final stage in Manchester by a fraction, taking victory from Cees Bol (Sunweb). After his Mitchelton-Scott team did much of the work leading the race into the final sprint, Matteo Trentin finished third.
While Trentin didn’t take the stage, he did finish second in the GC, with Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal) placing third overall.
“Coming into the Tour of Britain I didn’t really think that winning the race was possible because of the time trial as I hadn’t done one in a really long time,” said van der Poel after the stage. “After the time trial I started to believe I could win overall but today was harder than I thought it would be. It wasn’t an easy day today.”
The 166km stage around Manchester featured three categorized climbs before a flat final 20km.
Attacks came and went throughout the hilly middle section of the race, with groups of various sizes going clear before being neutralized shortly afterward as the race never settled. Ineos and Katusha-Alpecin were aggressive throughout, with their riders Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) both going into the stage less than 15 seconds off a podium place.
Midway through the race, it was Ineos that split the race over one of the many steep ramps of the stage, with around 30 riders going clear, including all the top GC riders.
Attacks continued coming and going for the next 40km, with Sivakov and Andrey Amador (Movistar) both trying solo moves, and several small groups gaining a handful of seconds before being caught.
Despite the best efforts of all the attackers, the race came into the twisting city streets of Manchester as one, with the strongest teams intent on setting up a sprint finish.
Mitchelton-Scott controlled the pack in the final 4km to try to set up Trentin, and were fast to neutralize a brief attack from Gianni Moscon (Ineos).
As the race came into the long finishing straight, van der Poel found him in first wheel before Bol launched his sprint. Van der Poel was quick to react and jumped into the Sunweb rider’s draft. Behind, Trentin, who had been out of position rounding the bend into the closing straight, came from fifth wheel back and tried to get onto the flying Dutchman’s wheel, but was unable to get round him.
With Bol and van der Poel going shoulder-to-shoulder in the final ten meters, it was only van der Poel’s final throw for the line that made the difference, giving him the stage win and the green leader’s jersey.
Tour of Britain, Stage 8:
- Mathieu van der Poel: 3:49:26
- Cees Bol: ST
- Matteo Trentin: ST
Tour of Britain, Final GC:
- Mathieu van der Poel: 29:47:41
- Matteo Trentin: +0:00:17
- Jasper De Buyst: 0:00:50