By Nick Bull
Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) took his second breakaway victory in two days at the 2014 Tour of Britain as Alex Dowsett (Movistar) catapulted himself into the race leader's yellow jersey in Hemel Hempstead.
Despite a breathless chase from the peloton, led by overnight leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), the gap at the finish of stage six was enough for Dowsett, second on the stage, to head straight to the top of the overall GC.
Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis) had a fine ride to take third on the stage.
Following his disappointment on stage four, when a double puncture scuppered his place in the breakaway, Dowsett now finds himself in pole position to take his home tour when it concludes on Sunday in London.
He now leads the overall classification from the Polish rider by 34 seconds. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished in the bunch to remain seventh overall.
The stage, the second longest in this year's race, was frantic. After Alex Peters (Madison-Genesis) and Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) were caught after an early breakaway attempt, the peloton split significantly. Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Steve Cummings (BMC) were among those who missed the move.
Yellow jersey Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took the first sprint points - and bonus seconds - ahead of Bradley Wiggins and Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) in Devizes, before the potentially race-winning move formed.
A lull in the peloton's pace allowed the second group to come back together, but this also helped the leaders quickly amass a large advantage.
They led by nearly 10 minutes at one point, and had over eight minutes in hand with 60 kilometres remaining.
But Omega Pharma, Sky and BMC all contributed to the chase, which saw the leaders' advantage eroded quickly. Thirty kilometres from Hemel Hempstead, the gap was just 4-33.
However inside the final hour the bunch failed to take much time away from the leading trio, which in Dowsett and Brandle featured two strong time triallists.
A domestic rider is yet to take a stage win at the modern Tour of Britain, and Brandle easily dispatched Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis) in the sprint. But for Dowsett it was all about the time on the peloton.
Friends Life Tour of Britain 2014, stage six: Bath to Hemel Hempstead, 205.6km
1. Matthias Brandle (IAM) in 4-44-49
2. Alex Dowsett (Movistar)
3. Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis) all at 1 second
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) at 1-51
5. Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani-CSF)
6. Ben Swift (Sky)
7. Martin Kohler (BMC)
8. Heinrich Haussler (IAM)
9. Rick Zabel (BMC)
10. Tom Veelers (Giant-Shimano) all at s.t.
Overall classification after stage six
1. Alex Dowsett (Movistar) in 25-07-53
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) at 34 secs
3. Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) at 40 secs
4. Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) at 50 secs
5. Dylan Teuns (BMC) at 51 secs
6. Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) at 1-00
7. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at 1-02
8. Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura) at 1-06
9. Sebastian Reichenbach (IAM) at s.t.
10. Matthias Brandle (IAM) at 1-07
Route for 2022 Commonwealth Games road race and time trials announced
The time trial heads through Wolverhampton, while Warwick hosts the road race
By Ryan Dabbs •
Chris Froome motivated to improve next year: 'I’m going to keep pushing on, hoping for more progression'
Froome is pushing to win his first event since the 2018 Giro d'Italia in the 2022 season
By Ryan Dabbs •
Alex Dowsett heads to Tour de France with Katusha-Alpecin after winning national time trial title
Six-time champion looking forward more than ever to wearing national stripes for the year
By Owen Rogers •
Alex Dowsett: Tour of Britain stage five 'the best club 10 I've ever done'
British rider Alex Dowsett could only managed ninth on the stage, but said he relished the opportunity to ride a pro time trial in his home county
By Vern Pitt •
Lars Boom wins Tour of Britain stage five time trial to take overall lead
Major changes to the general classification after stage five of the 2017 Tour of Britain as Lars Boom puts in blistering time trial performance in Clacton
By Nigel Wynn •
Alex Dowsett uploads 10 mile time trial to Strava with astonishing power and speed figures
A regular at his local club time trial, Alex Dowsett held nothing back last night when he averaged 426 watts on the way to a low 19, posting it on Strava.
By Henry Robertshaw •
Alex Dowsett breaks British 25-mile time trial record with sub 45-minute ride
Alex Dowsett adds the 25 competition record to the 10-mile record he took in 2014
By Richard Windsor •
"I've seen signs for Carlisle every day": Riders hit out at Tour of Britain transfers
André Greipel and Alex Dowsett both criticise this year's pre and post-race transfers.
By Nick Bull •
Alex Dowsett: I knew I was suffering at the Tour of Britain
Movistar rider loses race lead the day after his breakaway exploits into Hemel Hempstead.
By Nick Bull •
Alex Dowsett loses Tour of Britain lead on stage seven in Brighton
Julien Vermote takes the victory for Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Dylan Van Baarle now leads.
By Nick Bull •