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Van Aert outsprinted André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) on Sunday’s stage into Aberdeen, scoring the bonuses he needed to overhaul overnight race leader Hayter, who finished on the same time but out of range of any top-placing awards.
It was van Aert’s fourth win of the eight-day race and will make for a huge confidence boost ahead of the world championships road race in two weeks’ time.
“I feel great. It was a super-fast last stage and the team worked really hard to make it a sprint. It was up to me to finish it off so I’m really pleased I made it work,” he said.
“I’ve felt really good all week, for sure I’m ready for the worlds, and I’m looking forward to three more weeks of big goals.”
Hayter finished second overall, six seconds down, while Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) finished third.
“Hayter really put me to the limit, he’s a young guy and really strong,” van Aert said. “It’s one of the first times I’ve fought against him – that’s the right word because I had to compete against him in all the sprints to make it difficult, but in the end, it all came down to the bonus seconds.”
When the break of Robin Carpenter (Rally), Michał Paluta (Global 6), Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rural), Tom Gloag, and Ben Healy (both Trinity) went away early in the day, it was down to Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quick-Step to chase.
Hayter started the stage with a four-second GC lead and so it was in van Aert and Alaphilippe’s interest to reel in the escapees so they could hoover as many bonus points on the finish line as possible.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma did a huge amount of pulling through the stage and only tagged the remaining breakaway riders at just five kilometers to go as the race rushed into Aberdeen. Both teams had sacrificed riders in the long chase, leaving fewer workhorses for the final leadout.
Movistar pulled through the final kilometers for their sprinter Gonzalo Serrano, but it was Deceuninck-Quick-Step that lit the fuse in the final kilometer.
Quick-Step moved up late with Alaphilippe guiding Cavendish through the chaos. André Greipel accelerated hard from around five wheels back with 100 meters to go and looked to have got a winning gap as Cavendish made his move.
Greipel faded at the last and van Aert came up fast from Cavendish’s wheel to take the stage win, a 10-second time bonus and overall victory.
Tour of Britain stage 8:
- Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): 4:07:56
- André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation): at s.t.
- Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step: at s.t.
Tour of Britain final GC:
- Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): 31:42:22
- Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers): at 00:06
- Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step): at 00:27