Ethan Hayter took victory on stage five of the Tour of Britain in a bunch sprint, beating Giacomo Nizzolo, as well as re-taking the overall race lead.
Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) pulled a sensational sprint out of the bag to beat Nizzolo (Qhubeka-NextHash) and Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) missing out on taking part in the sprint due to a late crash in the final corner.
Thanks to the bonus seconds, Hayter goes back into the dark blue leader's jersey after Van Aert took it from him on stage four.
The breakaway pushed the peloton all the way until just before the final kilometre of the stage into Warrington with the damp roads causing the late crash.
How it happened
The 2021 Tour of Britain moved back into England for the fifth day of competition with a stage taking place entirely in Cheshire with a 152.2km route from Alderley Park with a finish in Warrington.
Five riders got away after a decent length battle to get up the road with the likes of Owain Doull (Ineos Grenadiers) trying to make it into the break. But eventually the break got away before the first intermediate sprint.
The riders who went up the road were Jacob Scott (Canyon-dhb-SunGod), Chris Blevins (Trinity Racing), Leon Mazzone (Saint Pirin), Nickolas Zukowsky (Rally), and Dan Bigham (Ribble-Weldtite), with the gap getting out to four minutes at its peak.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step, Israel Start-Up Nation and Qhubeka-NextHash controlled the gap throughout the day, bringing the gap down to settle around the 2-30 mark.
Unsurprisingly, Scott took every intermediate sprint and mountain sprint throughout the stage as he extended his huge advantage in both competitions. Zukowsky tried to pip the British rider on the first two climbs but was beaten on both occasions meaning he didn’t even try in the third and final climb.
The rain began to fall hard as the race headed towards the final intermediate sprint of the day in Chelford as the dry and sunny Tour of Britain riders had got used to disappeared.
Back in the peloton, the tempo was building up slowly with the gap at 1-28 with 30km to go as the sun did return yet again.
Scott was the first rider dropped with 16km to go after Bigham upped the pace dramatically as the peloton were now just 37 seconds behind. Scott was caught by the peloton very quickly.
Bigham put in a very big acceleration with 12km to go and kicked on solo as he looked to try and hold off the peloton that was still being controlled by the same three teams, as well as SwiftCarbon.
Zukowsky and Blevins caught Bigham as Mazzone dropped back to the peloton with 9km to the finish and a 25-second gap to the rapidly travelling peloton. Ineos Grenadiers got involved with the chase with 8km to go as the gap was closed to just 11 seconds.
The break was finally caught with 1.6km to go thanks to a huge turn by Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck - Quick-Step). Ineos Grenadiers took over yet again as Deceuninck - Quick-Step got ready for their final lead-out.
But it was Ineos Grenadiers that had control of the race into the final corner that saw Doull hit the deck which blocked multiple riders, including Van Aert, from taking part in the sprint.
Michał Kwiatkowski led out his Ineos Grenadiers team-mate, Hayter with the team leader launching his sprint with about 200 metres to go, holding off the likes of Nizzolo and Cavendish who had to make up a lot of ground due to losing ground after the crash.
The 10 bonus seconds that Hayter took on the line meant that he took the leader's jersey back off Van Aert, with a gap of eight seconds between the two riders in the general classification.
Stage six of the Tour of Britain heads further north with a tricky 198km route that includes three category one climbs in the middle of the day, as the race rides from one side of the country in Carlisle to a hilly finish in Gateshead on the northeastern coast of England.
Tour of Britain 2021, stage five: Alderley Park to Warrington (152.2km)
1. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, in 3-33-01
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka-NextHash
3. Dan McLay (GBr) Team Arkéa-Samsic
4. Luke Lamperti (USA) Trinity Racing
5. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
6. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
7. Michał Paluta (Pol) Global 6 Cycling
8. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
9. Gonzalo Serrano (Esp) Movistar Team
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix, all at the same time
General classification after stage five
1. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, in 18-17-42
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 8s
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 19s
4. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 29s
5. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 48s
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-19
7. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix, at 1-21
8. Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM, at 1-42
9. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix, at 1-46
10. Carlos Rodriguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-51
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1