'Probably the best seat in the house': James Shaw explains his tactics after sprinting with Wout van Aert, Julian Alaphilippe, and Ethan Hayter

The Ribble-Weldtite rider has been one of the stand-out performers in this year's Tour of Britain

James Shaw sprinting against some of the fastest riders in the world
James Shaw sprinting against some of the fastest riders in the world
(Image credit: Getty)

James Shaw said he had the best seat in the house as he sprinted against Wout van Aert, Julian Alaphilippe, and Ethan Hayter on stage six of the Tour of Britain.

Ribble-Weldtite rider Shaw has been taking the fight to the WorldTour riders in his home Tour, putting in stand-out performance on a thrilling stage into Gateshead.

As the day's breakaway was caught on day six, Shaw went on the offensive on the final climb and pulled out a respectable gap on the bunch, only to be caught by an elite group consisting of some of the best riders in the world. 

Shaw eventually put in a sprint for the line against the likes of world champion Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), Belgian champion Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), rising star Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), and Grand Tour stage winners Michael Woods and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation).

 Speaking after his fifth place finish, the 25-year-old former WorldTour rider said: "It was a good result, strong result, and I'm pleased with what I did. I've had a bit of a rough 48 hours really, with a few mechanicals, things going wrong, and I struggled to get my head in the right place. 

"I came around in the race. I got to the bottom of the climb and thought 'let's just go mental and see what happens, see if I can win a stage'. It was an opportunity to lose loads of time and not have to worry about it." 

"I got to the climb, perfect lead-out from Matt [Gibson], caught the break and just went as hard as I could to the top. Just got caught as I crested the summit, I looked back and realised it was a smaller lead group. I thought there was a possibility I could do something. I came to the finish, gave it a good kick, and got beat by the five fastest lads out there."

On sprinting against some of the biggest names in the sport, Shaw added: "It's not often you get that seat, it's probably the best seat in the house isn't it? Not the view you get every day, so I enjoyed it." 

Shaw is one of the most promising British riders racing at Continental level, having already spent two full seasons riding at WorldTour level with Lotto-Soudal in 2017 and 2018, before he was unexpectedly dropped from the team.

After struggling to find another team, Shaw found a home for 2021 at Ribble-Weldtite, where he has been able to show his abilities in stages races like the Tour of Slovenia, the Tour of Norway, and now the Tour of Britain. 

>>> Mark Cavendish explains mid-race frustration to viewers during Tour of Britain breakaway

Shaw has clearly impressed the right people, as he recently revealed to Cycling Weekly that he had secured a WorldTour contract for 2022. 

He currently sits 14th overall in the Tour of Britain, 2-10 off the race lead with two stages remaining. 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.