Race report

Bad luck sees Bol unable to sprint in Kelso

OVO Energy Tour of Britain

After yesterday’s sprint stage the peloton were faced with a slightly tougher day of racing in Scotland today, with the route starting and finishing in the town of Kelso. A break of three riders escaped the peloton early into the stage and the teams were happy to keep them under control, never allowing the gap to grow out much further than three minutes.

The pace increased as the race entered the final 30 kilometres, with the bonus sprint and final categorised climb only five kilometres away. The peloton was stretched out as they went through the sprint in Melrose, before they immediately started the climb of Dingleton. The pressure remained on at the head of the bunch which caused splits, with several riders dropped. Over the top Chris Hamilton, Chad Haga, Florian Stork and Cees Bol all made it into the reduced peloton.

With yesterday’s stage winner dropped, the fight was on and the speed in the group stayed high all the way to the finish. Bol moved his way up the peloton well after some assistance from the team, and going into the final 500 metres he was in a good position near the front of the bunch. However, a tight turn onto a narrow bridge saw a few riders in front of him run wide which forced Bol to go wide and pull on the brakes. As a result, he was out of position for the finale and the chance of a good stage result was gone, with Hamilton the first rider across the line for the team.

“It was a nice day with the sun out in Scotland, which no one was expecting,” joked Hamilton at the finish. “It was a good day for all of us until the last corner. A few guys didn’t make it round onto a narrow bridge and Cees got caught out a bit behind them there. I didn’t want to be the first finisher for the team today but that’s what happens sometimes and we’ll try again tomorrow.”

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston added: “I think we were a little bit unlucky at the finish. The race really exploded on the final climb and Cees made the front group along with Chad, Chris and Florian. He positioned himself really well and the guys were doing some good work for Cees in the reduced peloton. Coming into the finale he was behind the Jumbo lead out and they overcooked the last corner so Cees lost a lot of positions there as he had to brake really hard and the sprint was gone from that moment. He’s in good shape and was in a good position, but it was just a bit of bad luck that he didn’t get to sprint today.”