Dylan Groenewegen claimed his second victory in the space of three days at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain yesterday, catching his rivals by surprise on a challenging uphill finish in Newcastle and winning comfortably.
The Jumbo-Visma rider kicked early on the final rise up Grey Street. Despite a late surge from his compatriot, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), the young crossover star who is favourite for the World Road Race Championships in Yorkshire in a few weeks’ time, had enough of a lead to hold on.
Stage three from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle had earlier seen around half of the peloton caught on the wrong side of a level crossing at Widdrington Station, with the race being neutralised for a time.
Both the front of the peloton and the day’s six-man breakaway had to be stopped, allowing the bunch to catch up with the escapees, who were then allowed to ride on until they had their three-minute advantage back.
The break was caught with about one kilometre to go, setting the scene for the final sprint.
“This was a beautiful day,” Groenewegen said. “It was a close call whether we could bring back the breakaway in time, but the boys timed that perfectly. It was a difficult finish, slightly uphill and ideal for me. At first, I thought I had started the sprint too early, but I immediately created a gap and I luckily could keep that all the way. The team was impressive today and the lead out good. After a difficult period, I am more than happy to have claimed my second stage victory here today. That feels good.”
At the Vuelta a Espana, British rider Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) narrowly missed out on a maiden grand tour stage win for the second day in succession.
Dane Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) won the mountainous stage by 22 seconds from Geoghegan Hart – who came third on Sunday – as Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) extended his overall race lead.
The Slovenian crossed the line in 16th place but added 23 seconds to his lead over world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who was distanced on the hors categorie final climb.
The race finishes in Madrid on Sunday, with world champion Valverde, 39, vowing not to give up. “I don’t know if I’m up to fighting to win the Vuelta outright,” he said. But I’ll be going for first or second from now on.”