Half of peloton go off course in Tour of Britain stage five finale

Cees Bol of Team DSM among riders unfortunate enough to be diverted wrong way

Tour of Britain 2022
(Image credit: SWPix)

Half of the peloton at the Tour of Britain did not take part in the sprint at the end of stage five after they ended up on the wrong side of the barriers in the final kilometre.

A central reservation without barriers on the right hand side led to tens of riders riding off the course and therefore away from the stage finish.

Among those to end up on the wrong side of the barriers was Cees Bol (DSM), one of the favourites for the flat finish, who won stage two earlier this week.

In his absence, Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) was able to comfortably win the reduced bunch sprint in Mansfield.

Max Poole (DSM), Bol's teammate, was also one of the unfortunate riders: "It was coming into the final, the inside was left open, but you had to go left. Half the field went left, half the field went right. Someone had to open the barrier. 

"Cees and Marius [Mayrhofer] went right, so a bit of a shame. It was a lot of people, I don't understand how you can leave the inside of a bend open. It's a bit of a mess."

In the end, some riders were left to climb over the barriers to get back on course, and finished the day 36 seconds behind the leading group, although they have now been given the same time as the lead finishers.

Matt Gibson (Human Powered Health) was a sprinter hoping to show his speed on the flat finish in Mansfield.

"We had to climb back over the barriers, about half the field went the wrong way," he told Cycling Weekly. "About 50 people didn't get a chance to go for a result today, which sucks after you've put so much effort in over 180km. The longest stage to then have the opportunity taken away from you in the last km.

"I've had things where you've crashed or gone the wrong way by accident, but that was avoidable. The organisation could have put barriers one side and then it wouldn't have been a problem.

"I knew immediately because I heard in the meeting that there would probably be barriers on the left hand side," Gibson continued. "I wasn't in a situation where I could turn left to go across because there was quite a few people on my left hand side. If I had tried, it probably would have caused a crash. 

"I had no choice but to go right. It's disappointing definitely, especially on what was the most obvious sprint stage."

No crash or major incident was caused by the misdirection, but it did lead to many missed opportunities for those in the peloton hoping for a result.

"The road was completely open with 1km to go, and then half the peloton were on the right side, watching the guys sprinting on the left," Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X) said. "We were behind the barriers watching with the spectators. It was a quite fun experience, a new one. We had to climb over the fence, or a marshal let us through. It was pretty special.

"It was just a wasted day actually, riding 180kms and then being sent the wrong way with 500m to go. All three of us went the wrong way, so it was over for us. Really weird, but things like this happen."

A statement from the race organisers said that all the affected riders were given the same time as the lead group.

“Approaching the finish in Mansfield a group of riders failed to take the race route on the correct side of the carriageway inside the final kilometre," a spokesperson said.

“We are investigating why the route at this point was not clearly marked and that this was able to happen.

“All affected riders have been credited with the same time.”

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