Promotional feature with Madison
The 2017 Tour of Britain route looked tailor made for the sprinters before the race had even begun, and the five road stages so far have all been contested by the fast men.
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But that hasn’t stopped the domestic British teams, including Madison-Genesis, from getting in the breakaways almost everyday. While none have come particularly close to winning, stage six’s leading group made it the farthest, with Madison-Genesis’s representative Connor Swift saying “it wasn’t too bad” despite almost relentless rain throughout the stage.
In the end, Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan was able to sprint to his third stage victory of the race ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors).
“In the rain today it wasn’t too bad. There were some sketchy bits on the road, so being further up meant you could take better lines and avoid potential crashes and things like that,” Swift said. “I think it was a bit safer up the road. But a good day out, I enjoyed it.”
“Potentially the break could have made it today. There was a point when the time checker said it was up to 3 minutes 10, then 2-3km later it was straight back down to 1 minute 50 so we didn’t really get the time check in between. We were just trying to play with the peloton all day.”
Despite inevitably being caught, the Madison-Gensis riders are still keen to get into the breaks and showcase the team colours in Britain’s biggest stage race, which this year is hosting start to finish live coverage on ITV4 for the first time.
Swift admitted however that there was very little chance of one of those breaks sticking to the finish on this year’s parcours, and that an escape group would have to be on “a lucky day” to take the stage.
The Tour of Britain heads from Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham on Saturday for stage seven, in a 186km route that features a climb towards the finish but should still see a sprint with its flat run in.
The final day’s racing will finish in Cardiff, where once again the best odds are with the sprinters for victory.
“I think obviously we want the break to stick and have one of us there. It is going to be tough here as there are so many big sprinters all preparing for the worlds, so they are all flying!” Swift said.
“For a break to stick it would have to be a lucky day.”
“[There are] potentially some opportunities tomorrow and this weekend. It’s great to have other guys up the road and getting on the TV all day and trying to get on the podiums whether it be the break pulling it off or the most aggressive rider or the best British rider like Rich has had and Matt has had – so just showing our faces and bringing the race to the top guys is the main aim.”