Sean McKenna’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain Diary – Stage 8 Worcester to Cardiff (180.2k)
The final stage was a proper, proper hard day. The weather was miserable yet again although it started off not too bad.
Our aim obviously was to keep (Jacob) Scotty in the King of the Mountains jersey. So, we had to look out for two lads getting in the break – (Graham) Briggs and the Polish lad, Lukasz Owsian.
The initial break went. There was an early climb after 26 kilometres and it went before then. It was perfect as there was no real threat in it. With it being the last day though and so tight in both the Sprints jersey and the KOM jersey, the break was never going to be let just go away. The race kicked off again and the break was brought back just before the Cat. 2 climb which was very difficult, arguably a Cat. 1.
Scotty had been covering moves in the early kilometres as we all had been. Everyone was a bit knackered after eight days though and the bunch split on the climb. It was only 26 kilometres into a 180-kilometre stage and the bunch pretty much split in half.
Unfortunately for us, a lot of the top sprinters were in our group such as Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish, so the lads at the front didn’t want them coming back and it stayed split for the day.
The CCC lad was in the front group unfortunately and he mopped up the King of the Mountains points and was able to take the jersey off Scotty. We did have Mark Stewart up there who was trying to take as many points as he could but Owsian was very strong.
It was very disappointing for him to lose the jersey as he really deserved it. I don’t think his hard work will have gone unnoticed. He’s a classy rider and has a bright future ahead.
All in all, it was a brilliant week. The size of the crowds was crazy at times. They know how to put on a bike race in the UK and to get the riders they did was brilliant.
It’s crazy to think that a few months ago, I was sitting in a lecture hall and now I’ve just finished one of the biggest bike races that there is.
It’s a pity I had the injury in the weeks leading up to it and having taken a week off, I came into the race a bit stale. I definitely rode into it though and hopefully, I’ll come out if it with a bit form, finish off the season well and that it leads on to bigger and better things.