Lithuanian Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post-Sean Kelly) won stage seven of the 2011 Tour of Britain in Sandringham on Saturday from a successful breakaway group.
Britain’s Ian Wilkinson (Endura) hit the line to take an agonisingly close second place at the end of the longest stage of the 2011 race. Frenchman Mathieu Claude (Europcar) placed third.
Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) continues to lead overall going into Sunday’s final day of racing in London. Boom is eight seconds ahead of second-placed Leopold Koenig (NetApp) and 29 seconds in front of highest-placed British rider, Daniel Lloyd (Garmin-Cervelo), in third.
Bagdonas sprinted to the line from a six-man escape group that also included Wilkinson, Wouter Sybrandy (Sigma Sport-Specialized), Richard Handley (Raleigh), Mathieu Claude (Europcar) and Stijn Neirynck (Topsport Vlaanderen).
With no threat to the overall classification in the lead group, they were allowed a certain amount of freedom by the bunch and at one point distanced the peloton by just over seven minutes. However, the peloton failed to measure the strength of the escape group as they worked well together to keep away.
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) brought the bunch home in seventh place, 1-23 behind Bagdonas.
There was no change to any of the classification leaders, although Cavendish’s sprint for seventh gained him enough points to move up to second in the points classification behind Boom. If Cavendish finishes ahead of Boom on Sunday, Cavendish could snatch the points classification in London.
Wilkinson took the award for most combative rider of the day, some consolation for missing out on the stage win.
On Sunday, the riders will complete two stages in London to conclude the 2011 race: an 8.8km individual time trial followed by a 90km criterium in Westminster. The time trial will likely decide the top order of the overall classification.
Tour of Britain 2011, stage seven: Bury St Edmunds to Sandringham, 199.7km
1. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) An Post-Sean Kelly
2. Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura
3. Mathieu Claude (Fra) Europcar
4. Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen all same time
5. Richard Handley (GB) Raleigh at 4 secs
6. Wouter Sybrandy (Ned) Sigma Sport-Specialized at 11 secs
7. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 1-23
8. Andrew Fenn (GB) An Post-Sean Kelly
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Leopard-Trek
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky all same time
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank
2. Leopold Koenig (Cze) NetApp at 28 secs
3. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 29 secs
4. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek at 31 secs
5. Stephen Cummings (GB) Sky at 32 secs
6. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp at 32 secs
7. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen at 32 secs
8. Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB) Rapha Condor Sharp at 32 secs
9. Iker Camano (Spa) Endura Racing at 50 secs
10. Joost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard-Trek at 52 secs
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank
1. Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post
1. Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB) Rapha Condor Sharp
Christchurch Park, Ipswich
Gediminas Bagdonas wins the stage
Mark Cavendish takes the bunch sprint for seventh
No change at the top: Lars Boom in the gold race leader’s jersey
Tour of Britain 2011: Latest news
Tour of Britain 2011: Stage reports
Tour of Britain 2011: Photo galleries
By Andy Jones
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Tour of Britain 2011: Press conference photo gallery
Tour of Britain 2011: Riders warm up photo gallery
Tour of Britain 2011: Start list
Tour of Britain 2011: TV guide