Tour of Britain: Kwiatkowski loses yellow after miscalculation

Race is not over yet, says Polish rider

It should have been a straightforward day in the saddle for Michal Kwiatkowski and his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team on stage 6 of the Tour of Britain. Instead, the race leader saw his yellow jersey ripped from his shoulders by Alex Dowsett (Movistar) after the team failed to reel in the break of the day.

At the Belgian team’s bus, it was obvious that the riders were frustrated by the loss and exhausted by the efforts of trying to bring the gap back. Niki Terpstra, who was seen trying to make it back to the front late on – after already putting in huge efforts – was slumped on the grass, leaning against the bus as he waited to get on the rollers. He struggled to get up when it was time to warm down. Mark Cavendish rolled through shouting ‘estupido’ as he approached the bus. The Manxman questioned the team’s logic in letting Dowsett escape in the first place.

Kwiatkowski was more measured in his response. The 24-year-old was one of the last members of his team to make it back to the bus, and made sure to thank them for their work. “It’s part of the sport, sometimes you lose sometimes you win. Today, chapeau to those guys they really went hard,” he said to the press once he had changed out of his yellow jersey.

“We were trying to chase them hard for the whole race but it wasn’t possible to take them back. I want to say thank you to my teammates, they really gave their hearts to keep my leader’s jersey but we still have two stages in front of us, so it’s not over.”

After three days where the riders have rolled in on the slowest predicted time, there was little chance of that on Friday. The racing was won from the start, with Omega Pharma-QuickStep marking any move that went off the front, before Dowsett and two others broke free after almost 50 kilometres.

“We were trying to not let many guys go into the breakaway and we were actually happy with that breakaway as there weren’t that many riders up there,” explained Kwiatkowski. “We did a good job, but that’s part of the sport and I think the way we lose, we didn’t give up. I was even trying to chase back the last 30 kilometres in the front, trying to eliminate the gap.”

Kwiatkowski has slipped to second in the general classification and, after including the bonus seconds earned, trails Dowsett by 34 seconds. It’s not an impossible gap to bridge, but – with Dowsett’s talents in the time trial – it will be hard to take the yellow jersey back.

Directeur sportif Brian Holm doesn’t think the general classification is a done deal just yet though. “Tomorrow anything can happen,” he told Cyclingnews. “A break going, can they control it? They probably can. The GC could change again, anything can happen. It’s quite hard tomorrow, people are tired. There are no worries really, we will take it easy.”
 

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