Former European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) moved into the race lead of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain after sprinting to a dramatic victory in Kelso, Scottish Borders, on Sunday.
Trentin pipped Jasper de Buyst (Lotto Soudal), Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo – Visma Cycling) and Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy)to the line after a reduced peloton caught brave solo attacker Alex Dowsett (Team KATUSHA ALPECIN) on the final cobbled 50 metres.
Trentin, who placed third in Saturday’s opening stage in Kirkcudbright, gained crucial time bonuses on the line as a result of his win. This, combined with the distancing of overnight leader Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo – Visma Cycling) on the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Dingleton, put the Italian rider into the overall lead of the race.
“We planned this morning to let Jumbo work through the day and then try to make it as hard as possible on the final climb, we knew that Groenewegen is likely to be dropped if we do everything right,” said Trentin on the win.
“It happened, I still had three guys with me and two of them Durbridge and Cameron Meyer started to pull straight away from the top of the climb and Cam was still really good to bring me and Edmonson into the last corner.
“I wasn’t expecting van der Poel to attack to be honest because I saw him as one of the main favourites for today, but I don’t know what he wanted to do, we actually also tried to contest the intermediate sprint just before the climb to get some seconds for the GC because in this race that’s something I can do but I need to have seconds over the time trialists because otherwise they’re going to smash me in the time trial [Stage Six]. That’s all, so far today was the perfect day for us.”
After a three-rider breakaway had toiled in the warm Scottish Borders sunshine for much of the day, the race burst into action onthe Scott’s View SKODA King of the Mountains climb, with Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) and Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal) attacking and bridging to the three leaders.
That spurred an intensified chase and catch on the run to Melrose, with Trentin grabbing three bonus seconds at the intermediate EisbergSprint in Melrose at the foot of the final climb at Dingleton.
Over the climb Pavel Sivakov (Team INEOS) went clear but was reeled in by the chasing of Mitchelton – SCOTT on the front of the bunch, which split the field in half, with overnight leader Groenewegen in the rear part of the peloton.
Attacking with three kilometres to go, Dowsett looked like he was going to upset the remaining sprinters, but despite being welcomed into Kelso’s main street by a wall of noise the British time trial champion was caught with 50 metres remaining, holding on to finish seventh on the stage.
Speaking after the finish Dowsett said, “I was looking for an opportunity at about 15k to go but the pace was a bit too high and nothing really presented itself. Then at 3km to go, Mitchelton and Israel couldn’t really decide who was going to do the pulling and there was some hesitations. I saw Cummings went and if he’s going then you know it’s a sign that it’s a good opportunity to go and I jump onto him. I just went straight over the top.
“I glanced once or twice and didn’t see anyone. Then I went over the bridge and caught a glimpse of them. It was pretty heartbreaking them coming around me with 50-100metres to go”.
Trentin now leads by 11 seconds overall from Cimolai and De Buyst, while also taking the Cetaphil Points jersey lead. The Eisberg Sprints jersey moves over to Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale), while Jacob Scott (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling) retains the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey. His Swift Carbon team-mate Peter Williams won the public vote for Wahooligan Combativity award for his efforts in the day’s breakaway.