The general classification in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain has flipped on its head after the team time trial to Whinlatter Pass. LottoNL-Jumbo won the stage ahead of Quick-Step Floors and Katusha-Alpecin, putting Primož Roglič into the green leader’s jersey, with BMC Racing placing 6th which dropped Patrick Bevin down to 4th overall.
14km in length, stage 5 from Cockermouth to Whinlatter Pass was expected to be an unusual test for the team time trial. The stage was almost entirely uphill, gradually working its way to the finish line with a brief flat lull before the final kick up to the line. Heading into the stage overall leader Patrick Bevin was aware that a wrong approach could result in losing significant time; and as JLT Condor left the start ramp to kick off the day it was with an air of uncertainty of how the day would pan out.
Canyon Eisberg, featuring Ryan Christensen, were the second team to start, and in the first three kilometres they dropped a rider as Alex Paton was shaken off the pace. ONE Pro Cycling were also one of the early teams to leave the start ramp, with the red number on the back of Hayden McCormick after his ride yesterday won him the most aggressive rider award.
JLT Condor set the first time of the day at 21.51mins, which Canyon Eisberg swift bettered by 31 seconds; with Ryan Christensen coming through as the fourth man across the line.
Of the continental outfits it was the Team Wiggins set up of Matthew Teggart, Thomas Pidcock, Mark Downey, Gabriel Cullaigh and New Zealand U23 road race champion James Fouche who were most successful; finishing 1.25mins behind the eventual winners in a time of 21.02mins. But of all the non-World Tour teams it was the British National Team that set the fastest time. They were the first team to go sub-21 minutes in 20.55mins.
Team Sky were the first of the serious pre-stage favourites to leave the start ramp with Ian Stannard, Wout Poels, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Vasil Kiryienka and Lukasz Wiśniowski going through in an impressive 20.03mins to slot into top spot. They would eventually do enough to finish fourth on the stage after dropping to four riders with 2km remaining.
It was Katusha-Alpecin who arguably produced the surprise of the day, shaving 6 seconds off of Team Sky’s time. Time trial specialists Tony Martin and Alex Dowsett inspired a brilliant performance from the outfit who’d struggled this season to really impact team time trials.
Quick-Step Floors would better Katusha-Alpecin by 4 seconds, but it was LottoNL-Jumbo who produced the best time of the day in 19.37mins to put Roglič into the green jersey as BMC Racing ended the stage in a surprising 6th place; 38 seconds adrift.
Overall the landscape of the general classification has changed significantly, with Roglič now leading Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step Floors by 6 seconds. Bob Jungels is 16 seconds back in third, while Patrick Bevin now sits in fourth overall at 24 seconds