Breakaway foils Bauer and Garmin-Sharp at Tour of Britain

Team to target stage wins in final stages

Garmin-Sharp’s work to reward ratio took a battering on the fifth stage of the Tour of Britain. If they’d had a kitchen sink to hand, Garmin would have thrown it at the situation as they unsuccessfully tried to reel in the four escapees up the road.

“We've been looking to try and capitalise on any opportunities, so we made the decision to put our boys on the front to see if we could pull it back. We didn't get close enough to have a hit out in the finale,” said Jack Bauer, as he perched himself on the seat of a bus shelter at the finish.

As the gap came down to just under a minute, on the final climb, Garmin launched a move. Neo-pro Dylan van Baarle tried his luck, but it didn’t gain any traction and the peloton barely lost sight of the young Dutch rider. Bauer later closed down a move by Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo), but that didn’t amount to anything either.

“Dylan hit out at the foot of the climb, and I've seen Nico performing pretty strongly all well, so he's obviously in good shape. I stuck on his wheel – he hit out a few times, and I sat on. I wasn't going to go on my own like yesterday, the line was too far away to hold a gap.”

The four riders went fairly early on in the 177-kilometre stage, but most expected it to end in a bunch sprint. With 50 kilometres remaining, it looked like it would run the course of a normal sprint stage, with the gap coming down to a manageable 1:37. However, it soon ballooned back out to over two minutes. When other teams finally got involved in the numbers began to tumble, but it was too little too late.

Bauer was relatively pragmatic about missing out in Exeter. “When you put your team on the front and they work for you, they're trying to create an opportunity. We gave it a crack, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't,” he shrugged.

There was little movement in the general classification, as the peloton crossed the line in a large bunch – for the first time in days. Bauer remains in 13th, at 54 seconds. Bauer isn’t calling it quits on his GC ambitions, but the focus will change to taking stages in the coming days.

“I wouldn't say it's done,” he said. “In a race like this, the stages can be fairly unpredictable. Little opportunities can come and go every day. There are people who are now clear favourites for the win. For us, we'll look to take opportunities out on the road. We need to take chances, instead of waiting.”
 

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