photo credit @ Team Sky
Team Sky’s Wout Poels won stage 5 of the Tour of Britain today, after putting in a heroic effort along the final climb of Hartside Fell.
After a flurry of attacks from a reduced peloton, Poels eventually made his way clear to join the lone leader, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo), during the final 4 kilometers.
However, a determined Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka), launched a final furious attack – only to catch and pass the two leaders during the closing kilometers.
But, Poels rallied once more, subsequently catching Boasson Hagen during the final 100m, to seize the stage victory from the Norwegian rider.
In the end however, Boasson Hagen held on just enough to take the race lead from Poels by a mere second, while Rasmus Guldhammer (Cult Energy) rounded out the podium in third place – at 30 seconds back.
Today’s stage was animated by an early breakaway group consisting Conor Dunne (An-Post – ChainReaction), Mark McNally (Madison-Genesis), Michael Morkov (Tinkoff-Saxo), Pete Williams (ONE) and Morgan Kneisky (Raleigh).
At one point, the escapees had established a maximum gap of about four minutes over the peloton.
However, their advantage continued to dwindle steadily, until they were caught inside the final 10 kilometers.
Ruben Zepunkte (Cannondale-Garmin) was the first to make an attack, as the main bunch began to splitter, but saw the likes of Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) as well as Poels chase him down.
Kruijswijk was the next rider to attack, which saw Kennaugh dropped and other riders struggle to hold the pace. Movistar’s Ruben Fernandez and Beñat Intxausti also made into the group behind Kruijswijk, as did Alex Peters and Tao Geoghagen Hart.
Poels then attacked, quickly bridging his way to Boasson Hagen. But, then disaster struck for Geoghagen Hart and Peters who both hit the deck after they touched wheels.
After more attacks eventually the front group settled into a foursome, with Intxausti joining Boasson Hagen and the Dutch pair in the lead with a fierce headwind blowing on Hartside.
From there, Poels made several moves with during the final 2 kilometers, but ultimately brought back before Boasson Hagen launched his final attack during the last 1 kilometer to go.
At that point, it appeared as though the MTN rider would claim the victory, but Poels managed to hang onto Boasson Hagen, and launch a final surge during the closing 100m to snatch the win.
Top 10 Finishers
1 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 4:12:22
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN – Qhubeka 0:00:02
3 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
4 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:18
5 Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
7 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) An Post – Chainreaction
8 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
9 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team
General classification after stage 5
1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN – Qhubeka 23:02:36
2 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:01
3 Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling 0:00:30
4 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:33
5 Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins 0:00:37
6 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:38
7 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
8 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
10 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
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