The start list included many of the world’s best time trial specialists – possibly the strongest selection of time triallists to battle it out on British roads since the 2012 London Olympics.
All three riders from the podium of the 2016 TT world championships were present: Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar). Then there was the 2017 Tour de France’s opening TT winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), European TT champion Victor Campenearts (LottoNL-Jumbo), Irish TT champion Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac), Norwegian champion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Giro d’Italia TT stage winner Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) and former British national champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar).
Due to the proximity of the Tour of Britain to the 2017 UCI Road World Championships – taking place in Norway at the end of the month – many riders were using the race as a pre-Worlds sharpener.
The flat course provided the ideal testing ground. Australian Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) set the early fast marker, clocking 19-23 before this was later beaten by first Kiryienka, posting 19-09 and then Campenaerts going better with 19-08.
Local man Dowsett started very quickly, posting the fastest time at the intermediate time split but faded slightly on the route back into Clacton into a headwind to post 19-23 and finish ninth on the stage. Martin also lost time on the second half of the stage to finish sixth.
Former ToB winner Boom then surprised many by first setting the fastest time at the intermediate time check and then carrying his pace all the way through to the line to post 19-02.
As Boom sat in the hot seat he was relatively safe in the knowledge that the final selection of riders would not challenge his time, with sprinter Elia Viviani (Team Sky) losing the race lead as expected. Boasson Hagen was the most likely to pose a threat, but he finished 30 seconds down on Boom.
Boom now leads the race overall eight seconds ahead of Campenaerts, with Kiryienka in third at nine seconds.
With bonus seconds at play on the finish line for the remaining three stages, there is still plenty of opportunity for the race lead to change hands.
The 2017 Tour of Britain continues on Friday with stage six, running from Newmarket to Aldeburgh over 183km. The race concludes in Cardiff, Wales, on Sunday September 10.
Tour of Britain 2017, stage five: Clacton to Clacton, 16km
1. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, in 19-02
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 6 secs
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 7 secs
4. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing, at 8 secs
5. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 11 secs
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 12 secs
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 17 secs
8. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 17 secs
9. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar, at 21 secs
10. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 21 secs
General classification after stage five
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