It’s been all gravy so far in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, but tonight Patrick Bevin and BMC Racing take on the stage that was always the major objective.  The team time trial could prove decisive for the team and could be the major signpost as to whether Bevin will take the green leader’s jersey all the way to London.

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Stage 4 of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain saw Patrick Bevin successfully defend his overall lead in style.  The stage win just got out of reach, but the Kiwi did succeed in gaining a little time over his rivals; crossing the line third behind Andre Greipel.  Bevin led out of the final corner with 350m remaining.  It was a tall order to fend off the likes of Andre Greipel and Sacha Modolo and the Kiwi did tire, but he’d done enough to take his third consecutive top three finish.

“I think if you’re going to lead out of that last corner with 350m to go you’re not going to win but you may run a podium and get some more time,” Bevin said post-race.  “So when it got messy in the last kilometre Jempy [Jean-Pierre Drucker] dropped me in with about 400m to go and I came up the inside on the last corner and thought no good to be near the front, just be on the front and just go.   I was out there a long time, I really just ran out of legs but it was a nice little result at the end of the day.”

Last year it was an individual time trial that proved the making of Lars Boom’s overall Tour of Britain triumph.  This year the team time trial will provide a very different flavour to the race.  “Yeah it is very different, it’s actually what we came here to target so up to now it’s all been a bit of a bonus,” Bevin said.  “It’s exciting, it’s a tough one to read.  I think if any team has a bad day they could lose lots of time and that could be your overall.  We’re going to turn up and do what we do every team time trial and see how it all shakes out at the end of the day.”

The course itself is 14km in length but almost entirely steadily uphill which will doubtless test everyone to the limit.

Bevin heads into the team time trial with a lead of 4 seconds over Mitchelton-Scott’s Cameron Meryer, with Quick-Step Floors’ Julian Alaphilippe at 6 seconds.  These two are likely to be on teams set to produce the strongest challenges to BMC Racing against the clock; while Team Sky – with Wout Poels sitting 5th at 16 seconds – will also be likely challengers.

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