Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) recorded his third stage win at this year’s Tour of Britain as he out-sprinted Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) in Aldeburgh to take victory, with Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo) holding onto the race lead.
Ewan launched an attack with 300m to go into Aldeburgh town centre and his attack couldn’t be answered by sprinting rivals, particularly Gaviria who’s team had look to take control as the race went through 1km to go.
However, poor positioning from the Colombian sprinter meant that Ewan had at least three bike lengths on him before he could react. Despite attempting to get back on the Australian’s wheel it was too little too late as Ewan sat up to celebrate across the line.
Lars Boom held onto the leader’s jersey having taken it after victory in the stage five time trial, meaning that team-mates Primoz Roglic and Gijs Van Hoecke were forced to police the peloton for most of the day on Friday’s stage six.
The day’s racing kicked off after just 15km with a breakaway of seven rider’s forming. The breakaway consisted of Harry Tanfield (BIKE Channel Canyon), Enrico Barbin (Biardiani-CSF), Regan Gough (An Post Chain Reaction), Jacob Hennessy (British Cycling), Hayden McCormick (One Pro Cycling), Connor Swift (Madison Genesis) and James Shaw (Lotto Soudal).
Happy to let the breakaway do their thing the peloton held the seven riders on a two minute leash with the gap only ever reaching above three minutes once, early on.
The day’s three intermediate sprints and solitary KOM competition were all contested by the riders in the breakaway with McCormick, Swift and Hennessy all taking maximum points at the sprints while Shaw took the day’s KOM points.
With just 20km to go and still holding a lead of 1-26, the breakaway tried to up their tempo but after a long day in the rain they couldn’t fend off the peloton and were caught with around 3km to go.
As the peloton went under the 1km banner it was Quick-Step who looked to take a hold on the race with Zdenek Stybar leading them into the final bend. However, the Czech slightly overcooked the sharp right hand turn and the Belgian team found themselves a bit confused and out of sorts.
Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) continued the lead out but as he looked behind him Gaviria was too far back while Ewan was starting to wind-up. As Ewan jumped past Gaviria, it was already done and he was able to celebrate a third stage victory.
How it happened
The 186.9km stage from Newmarket to Aldeburgh was one that many felt was set up for a sprint, but after just 12km a breakaway of seven formed to try and prevent that from happening.
Working well together, the group managed to build up a lead up to 3-04 at one point but the peloton made sure to keep it within touching distance, with many sprinting teams eyeing up a another stage victory.
Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) found himself pulling the peloton forward after team-mate Lars Boom took the race’s lead on stage six.
With 75km to go, the breakaway continued to be held at 1-55 while the rain and wind pelted the whole course.
As 70km to go approached, the breakaway’s pace picked up slightly pushing the gap to 2-23 as the peloton rode through the feed stop in Wickham Market.
However, as the race approached the third and final intermediate sprint, the peloton clawed the breakaway back to just 2-01 as Caleb Ewan’s Orica-Scott team-mates looked keep him in reach.
With 30km to go, the peloton decided it was time to reel the breakaway in with an almost instantaneous reaction as they cut the lead down to 1-04.
The breakaway responded well though, increasing the gap back up to 1-26 with 20km to go, eking out some hope that they could win the day’s stage.
As the race ticked to 7.7km to go, Lotto-Soudal rider James Shaw decided it was time to attack as the breakaway held a 23 second gap. Tanfield and Barbin were dropped from the group almost immediately as the breakaway tried to keep the impetus up.
However it wasn’t to be with the remnants of the day’s breakaway being caught with 3.6km to go.
That didn’t stop Alex Dowsett giving it a go with 2.8km to go. The Essex rider looked to try and catch out the peloton but was caught less than 1km later.
It was down to the sprinting teams once again but a sharp right hand turn before the finish potentially causing an upset. With 1km to go, Quick-Step controlled the race but that didn’t stop Ewan capturing his third stage at this year’s race. A long attack from around 300m by Ewan seemed a little premature but as soon as he attacked there was a solid gap between him and Gaviria and it was clear he wasn’t going to be caught.
The Tour of Britain continues on Saturday with stage seven, a 186km route from Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham.
Tour of Britain 2017 stage six: Newmarket – Aldeburgh (183km)
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 4-13-06
2 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
3 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
5 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
6 Brenton Jones (Aus) JLT Condor
7 Enzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
9 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac
10 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, all at same time
General classification after stage six
1. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, in 17-57-25
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 8 secs
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 9 secs
4. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing, at 10 secs
5. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 13 secs
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 14 secs
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 19 secs
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, at 19 secs
9. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 19 secs
10. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar, at 23 secs