Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen made light work of an uphill finish to sprint to his second stage victory on this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain in three days in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Monday.
The Team Jumbo – Visma Cycling rider crossed the line comfortably ahead of pre-stage favourite Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus),Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) and team-mate Mike Teunissen following the 500-metre uphill drag at the end of the stage from Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) placed fifth to retain the OVO Energy green jersey and Cetaphil Points jersey going into Tuesday’s fourth stage.
“The finish was a little steeper than I was thinking but it was OK in the end – I took the win. Thanks to my team, it was a really good day for us,” said Groenewegen. “Normally this type of finish is not so good for me but today I can get the win, so that’s really good.”
Cimolai’s top three position marginally reduced Trentin’s overnight lead to seven seconds, with van der Poel and Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal) a further four seconds in arrears.
“It was actually harder than I expected”, said the OVO Energy Green jersey Trentin afterwards. “The railway gate mixed up the plan a little bit, the breakaway got time to recover a little more than we hoped for and of course the riders out there were really strong. We needed a good effort to get them back.
“Tomorrow’s going to be the first real GC day, then of course the time trial is going to be the second one. In the Tour of Britain there is always space for some attacks and for things that can happen every day.”
The race being held briefly at a level crossing had threatened to give a six rider breakaway, containing Harry Tanfield (Team KATUSHA ALPECIN), Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), Jacob Scott (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling), Rob Scott (Team WIGGINS Le Col) and Belgian duo Dries de Bondt (Corendon Circus) and Christophe Noppe (Sport Vlaanderen Baloise) their head. When racing resumed Mitchelton-SCOTT and Team Jumbo – Visma worked to bring them back, finally succeeding as the race hit the Newcastle Quayside with one kilometre remaining.
“It was really close,” continued Groenewegen. “We knew the time difference but in the last 10km it was going really quickly down so that was enough for us.”
While there was disappointment to not see one of the four domestic riders taking the victory in front of Newcastle city centre’s big crowds, fans did help vote Tanfield the winner of the day’s Wahooligan Combativity award, in what is the most local stage for the North Yorkshireman.
In the Eisberg Sprints competition Rory Townsend reclaimed the red jersey, while built what is a commanding lead in the SKODA Kingof the Mountains competition, now 13 points clear of nearest challenger De Bondt.