By Nick Bull
Alex Dowsett lost the lead of the Friends Life Tour of Britain this afternoon, as Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Julien Vermote soloed to win in Brighton, and his earlier breakaway companion Dylan Van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp) took the yellow jersey.
Dowsett was distanced by the peloton on Ditchling Beacon, 17 kilometres from the finish, and despite a combative performance from former leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Van Baarle's presence in the escape group resulted in him moving into yellow.
Tomorrow morning's 8.8-kilometre time trial in London will likely provide the last GC shake-up. As a former under-23 national champion, Dutch rider Van Baarle should prove a good opponent for Kwiatkowski, who sits 19 seconds behind him.
Unlike yesterday, a breakaway formed shortly after the start. Van Baarle, Vermote, Kevin Ista (IAM), Ignatas Konovalovas (MTN) and Marcin Bialablocki (VGR) formed the group, with the latter's presence suggesting Omega Pharma-Quick Step were hoping to use him latter in the stage. Van Baarle, too, was a threat for Dowsett as he started the day just 1-25 behind.
They amassed a gap of 9-35 after 114km, but that quickly came down as BMC and Movistar pulled at the front of the bunch. At the bottom of Ditchling Beacon 18 kilometres from the finish, that was down to 2-42.
Vermote was not working on the approach to the ascent, and attacked as soon as the break turned left onto the climb. Bialoblocki was dropped first, while Ista, Van Baarle and Konovalovas formed a chasing trio.
Dowsett was dropped early on the climb, and trailed a select 18-man group (including his main GC rivals) by approximately 50 seconds over the top.
Vermote soloed to take the win, with Konovalovas pipping Van Baarle to second. But the latter finished 57 seconds ahead of the GC group, and moved into the race lead. Dowsett crossed the line a minute later, and slipped to 10th overall.
Tour of Britain 2014, stage seven: Camberley to Brighton
1. Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 226.5km in 5-12-34
2. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka at 0-23
3. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at same time
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 1-20
5. Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin
6. Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling
7. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
9. Francesco Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF all at same time
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp in 30-22-02
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 0-19
3. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0-25
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinnkoff-Saxo at 0-35
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing at 0-36
6. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0-45
7. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 0-47
8. David Lopez (Spa) Sky at 0-49
9. Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0-51
10. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar at 0-59
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