By Nigel Wynn
Rohan Dennis (BMC) followed up his second place in Saturday morning's Tour of Britain time trial stage with a win in the afternoon's circuit race in Bristol. Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) finished in the chase group to set up overall victory in the race.
The win and bonus seconds mean that Dennis moves ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) to second place overall as the two riders started the stage tied on 38 seconds behind Cummings. After the stage, Dennis trails Cummings by just 26 seconds.
Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx-QuickStep) led the peloton home six seconds behind stage winner Dennis, with Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) in third.
André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) was a something of a surprise early attacker, taking his chance to instigate the day's escape rather than keep his energy for a possible bunch sprint. He was joined by Boy van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo), Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) and Diego Rubio (Caja Rural).
The quartet worked well over the 90km race, which comprised six laps of the same 15km loop used in the morning's time trial stage. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) was visible for a long stretch at the front of the bunch, working for race leader and team-mate Cummings before peeling off.
As the race hit the final lap of six, the break held a slim 55-second lead over the chasing bunch. Greipel remained the most animated of the escapees, putting in an attack off the front just before the final crossing of the Clifton suspension bridge with 12km to go.
Ian Stannard (Sky) then hit the front of the peloton to up the chase of the break, with Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) on his wheel. With that level of firepower at the front, the break's advantage was sliced.
Greipel and Izaguirre were the first to get caught with 5km to go. Van Poppel attacked Rubio, but it was short-lived all were caught just inside 4km to go to bring the bunch together.
Dennis attacked off the final climb, losing Cummings and GC rival Dumoulin. Despite the effort he expended in the morning's time trial, Dennis powered away to take a solo victory ahead of the chasing peloton.
The 2016 Tour of Britain concludes on Sunday in London, with a flat 100km stage that should end in a bunch sprint. Barring disaster, Cummings should seal the overall victory.
Tour of Britain 2016, stage 7B: Bristol to Bristol, 90km
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing in 2-58-42
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx-QuickStep at 6 secs
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
5. Carlos Barbero (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-BikeExchange
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal
9. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac at same time
General classification after stage 7B
1. Steve Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data at 29-21-21
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing at 26 secs
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 38 secs
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal at 1-02
5. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac at 1-21
6. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky at 1-26
7. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1-48
8. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at 1-52
9. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep at 2-12
10. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 2-32
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