Movistar's Gonzalo Serrano claimed the stage four victory and the overall lead in the Tour of Britain, outsprinting breakaway compatriots Tom Pidcock and Dylan Teuns into second and third at Helmsley, North Yorks. Pidcock's Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Oscar Fraile, who completed the breakaway quartet, was fourth after doing a huge amount of work on the run-in to the finish and leading out the sprint.
Mathijs Paaschens (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB), who had featured so prominently in stage three's day long breakaway, led in the bunch sprint just behind, with Sam Watson (Great Britain) sixth.
Serrano claims the lead from Wiv-Sungod rider Ben Perry, who was awarded the red GC jersey yesterday evening after the day's initial result was amended.
Having endured a day of downpours the previous day, the riders were treated to considerably more clement weather for today's hilly 149.5km outing from Redcar to Helmsley's Duncombe Park. But while the weather was more pleasant, the racing was far harder, with a fraught day of fierce riding over three major climbs.
How it happened
Having begun the day with two riders in the top 10 — Pidcock and Fraile — Ineos Grenadiers made their intent clear almost from the start. It was Magnus Sheffield who established the most successful early move with 115km to go, as the race headed south-east down the coast from the start at Redcar, North Yorks. He was joined by Saint Piran's Harry Birchill and the pair took the first sprint at Whitby, the American Sheffield going through first and clearly keen to take the bonus seconds. With 95km remaining, the pair had a lead of a minute and the day's break looked as though it might be set.
However, as the race turned inland, the twin climbs of Robin Hood's Bay and Egton Bank changed the landscape of the race entirely, with the bunch splintering left right and centre behind the attackers. Pidcock and Michael Woods (Israel-PremierTech) were especially lively as the race exploded, and by the time Paasschens had crested Egton Bank in first place, Sheffield and Birchall were back in the fold and the race was all but back together.
Still together having dispatched the less challenging (though never easy) westerly middle section of the race across the Moors, the riders began to consider the day's final classified climb, Carlton Bank. Ineos in particular were very prominent on the front, with ever-dependable Andrey Amador working hard into the wind. A fiendishly placed intermediate sprint at Stokesley saw the British WorldTour team mount a tactical assault, with Fraile taking the maximum three seconds to consolidate his GC placing as Carlton Bank loomed just down the road.
As expected, the race ignited again over the steep, two-kilometre climb, with Pidcock instigating a three-up move with Dylan Teuns (Israel-PremierTech) and an impressive Oscar Onley (DSM Development Team) with 26km remaining. Behind, Paasschens picked up three points and so ended the tenure of Jacob Scott (Wiv-Sungod) in the mountains jersey — for now at least.
With around 16km to ride the trio had a promising 50 seconds on the chasing bunch, but a mammoth effort by Great Britain's Jake Stewart — who appeared to be working for Sam Watson today instead of vice-versa — brought the gap down to 30 seconds and gave the chase unstoppable momentum. The trio were caught soon afterwards.
But there was still one more intermediate sprint — and it was situated at the top of the climb of Newgate Bank with eight kilometres to ride. This time Serrano took the seconds, but incredibly Pidcock and Teuns were able to go again over the climb with Fraile also tagging along. The wide, open roads into Helmsley offered nowhere to hide, but a brutal day in the hills seemed to have cooked the chasers' legs and the well-oiled quartet steadily grew out the gap. It quickly became clear this was the winning move, and that with a 10 second time bonus available on the line, there would be a new leader of the race. The only question was who would it be?
RESULTS: TOUR OF BRITAIN 2022 STAGE FOUR REDCAR TO DUNCOMBE PARK, HELMSLEY (149.5KM)
1. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar in 3-40-38
2. Tom Pidcock (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Israel-PremierTech
4. Oscar Fraile (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
5. Mathijs Paaschens (Ned) Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB
6. Samuel Watson (GBR) Great Britain
7. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
9. Jack Rootkin-Gray (GBR) Saint Piran
10. Corbin Strong (NZl) Israel-PremierTech
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FOUR
1. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar
2. Tom Pidcock (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers
3. Omar Fraile (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
4. Benjamin Perry (Can) Wiv-Sungod
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Israel-PremierTech
6. Corbin Strong (NZl) Israel-PremierTech
7. Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB
8. Jake Stewart (GBR) Great Britain
9. Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers
10. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1