Wout van Aert makes it four Tour of Britain stage wins and steals overall title from Ethan Hayter

The Belgian champion was quickest against two sprinting legends to claim a final-day GC win

Wout van Aert
(Image credit: Getty)

Wout van Aert came past André Greipel in the closing metres to take stage eight of the Tour of Britain and with it secure the overall title.

The Jumbo-Visma man made it a staggering four wins in eight stages and his victory in Aberdeen meant that he picked up 10 bonus seconds, enough to overhaul his pre-stage four seconds deficit to Ethan Hayter at the summit of the race's overall standings.

Van Aert finished ahead of Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), with Hayter unable to open up his sprint, the Ineos Grenadiers man accepting defeat and sitting up to finish outside the top-10 in 11th. The Olympic silver medallist, however, did finish second on GC and picked up the points classification.

It caps off a memorable and dominant week for Van Aert ahead of the looming World Championships, the 26-year-old winning bunch sprints on stages one, six and eight and an uphill finish on stage four to reflect his versatility. 

The punchy race had been pitched as a battle between Van Aert, Hayter and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), so it was fitting that the final general classification finished with the trio on the podium.

How it happened

The eighth and final day of Britain’s national tour began in the Scottish town of Stonehaven, at the opposite end of the UK having begun a week earlier in Penzance in Cornwall.

As soon as the race flag was dropped six men were permitted to form the day’s breakaway, with Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling), Michal Paluta (Global 6 Cycling), Jokin Murguialday (Caja-Rural) William Bjergfelt (Swift Pro Cycling) and Trinity Racing duo Thomas Gloag and Ben Healy all present.

Jacob Scott’s breakaway heroics earlier in the race had already guaranteed the Canyon dhb SunGod rider the KOM jersey for a second successive edition, so the six escapees only had their eyes on preventing the sprinters from having their way.

Bjergfelt was dropped after 60km of racing, and the remaining five were never allowed a lead that stretched beyond three minutes. That said, with 12.5km to go, the breakaway of four – Paluta had been distanced – maintained an advantage of 25 seconds ahead of the flat run-in.

It wasn’t until five kilometres to go that the final quartet were caught by the peloton, but with Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma having had to work extremely hard to ensure a bunch sprint did eventuate, the final few kilometres of the stage became a scrappy affair.

Movistar took control into the headwind with three kilometres to go, but Van Aert was in seventh position, just a place behind the figure of Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick Step).

At two kilometres, Alex Dowsett from Israel Start-Up Nation made a short-lived but courageous bold move, and as the race passed the flamme rouge, it was still Movistar leading.

Alaphilippe began Cavendish’s lead-out, but before the Manxman could open up his sprint, his former rival Greipel came from the right and took centre position heading into the final couple of hundred of metres.

It looked like the veteran German was going to take an unfancied victory but Van Aert darted from behind and slipped past Greipel at the right time to make it four stage wins and take the overall classification with Hayter rarely in the picture and finishing out of the bonus seconds.

Results: Tour of Britain stage eight: Stonehaven > Aberdeen, 173km

1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-07.56
2. André Greipel (Ger) Israel  Start-Up Nation
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
4. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
5. Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM
6. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon dhb SunGod
7. Matt Gibson (GBr) Ribble Weldtite
8. Ollie Peckover (GBr) SwiftCarbon
9. Matt Bostock (GBr) Canyon dhb SunGod
10. Gabz Cullaigh (GBr) Movistar, all at same time

General classification after stage eight

1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma in 31-42.22
2. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers at 6s
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 27s
4. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceunick - Quick-Step, at 41s
5. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 1-00
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-014
7. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 1-16
8. Kritian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix, at 1-43
9. Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM, at 2-04
10. Carlos Rodriguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2-07.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.