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Ethan Hayter say he and his team will be 'up against it' on the queen stage of the Tour of Britain as he looks to hold onto his race leadership.
Ineos Grenadiers put in a strong display in the team time trial from Llandeilo to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, as they beat Deceuninck - Quick-Step by 17 seconds.
Hayter now leads his team-mate, Rohan Dennis by six seconds with stage one winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) a further 10 seconds back in the general classification.
Speaking after the stage, Hayter said: "I think all six riders just gave everything and pulled off a really good team time trial and that’s really satisfying.
"It’ll actually be pretty hard leading this race for the next five days. It’s going to be super tough racing and really hard to control as Jumbo-Visma showed yesterday [stage two]. We’ll be up against it, but to have 16 seconds… It’s better to be ahead 16 seconds than behind and we’ll try and do what we can over the next few days.
"Yeah it was a good effort, I’ve finished fourth and second over the last two days so not bad at all, so hopefully I’ll just keep getting better."
The UK-based team came to the line with the needed four riders, as Dennis and Hayter finished with Richie Porte and Carlos Rodriguez, after Owain Doull and Michał Kwiatkowski were dropped on a short climb in the final third of the stage.
Porte spoke of how well the team gelled on the course after the race: "Hats off to Rohan Dennis today, he really got us across the line, incredibly strong. We’re motivated - it's our home race and it’s a great result.
“I don’t really know if we were favourites to be honest, but to win the stage is a great satisfaction. It’s nice for us to race in Wales and we’ll try and defend this jersey."
Ineos will likely face attacks from the likes of Van Aert, as well as the star duo from Deceuninck - Quick-Step Julian Alaphilippe and Mikkel Honoré, who both sit at 23 seconds in fourth and fifth place.
Israel Start-Up Nation's duo of Michael Woods and soon to be retiring Dan Martin are also both still in the fight with them sitting on the same time as each other, 49 seconds back from Hayter.
Stage four of the Tour of Britain is the 'queen stage' of the race, finishing atop the climb of the Great Orme just outside of Llandudno on the North Wales coast after a tough 210km.
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