Having won stage 4 into Builth Wells, LottoNL-Jumbo were aiming for consecutive Tour of Britain stage wins in Bath. However a lack of co-operation and strong riding from Cannondale-Drapac's Jack Bauer meant the peloton missed out on the stage win with Dylan Groenewegen taking fifth behind Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) in the field sprint.
The Dutch national champion Groenewegen got the better of Dan McLay (Great Britain) in a two-up sprint on Wednesday following good work from his team and the fellow sprint teams to ensure a bunch gallop finish. Thursday's stage 5 proved to be a different affair though with Orica-BikeExchange opting out of the chase to leave Lotto Soudal, LottoNL-Jumbo, Dimension Data and Team Sky in control of bringing it back for the sprint.
"Just our team and Lotto-Soudal were putting muscle into the chase. We only have six-man teams here, so you need more teams to close the gap with such a strong leading group," director sportif Merijn Zeeman said.
Coming into the finale, Groenewegen led out of the final corner with the group of four riders in sight but the 23-year-old couldn't catch them in time and slowed at the line as Ewan came around for fourth place.
"It was a tough day. The peloton neared the leaders, but not close enough, and Dylan sprinted to second place in the group," Zeeman added. "We put our faith in Dylan. This morning, we decided to give everything for the sprint. We did everything, but were unable to lead out for the win – just fourth place [sic]."
Paul Martens reiterated the comments of his director sportif, explaining the team needed more firepower and assistance to reel in the breakaway.
"We know that if we can put Dylan in a good position, he can win, it did not work today. You're constantly talking with other teams about whether or not to pull. It's a daily battle between the teams who do and do not want to chase. This time, we were unlucky that there were only two teams in the chase. This meant that it was even harder for us," said Martens.
"I gave everything I had, but I'm recovering well now. I'm sure that we’ll be able to do it again in the next days."
With the Tour of Britain finishing on Haytor on Friday, the riders will then head to Bristol for a split stage with a morning time trial and afternoon circuit race before the final opportunity for the sprinters in the flat stage 8 around central London.
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