Team Sky took control at the Tour of Britain on Sunday but Dutchman Jonny Hoogerland believes his Vacansoleil team can still secure overall victory before the end of the race on Saturday.
Greg Henderson won the stage in Stoke on Trent and now leads the overall by 14 seconds but like Team Sky, Vacansoleil also had three riders in the decisive 18-rider attack and Hoogerland believes they can use their combined strength to out-manoeuvre Henderson. They could even try to attack him on Constitution Hill, the brutal one-in-three cobbled climb that features in the final two kilometres of today’s stage to Swansea.
Hoogerland won the combativity prize for being the last rider to get across to the key break during stage two to Stoke on Trent on Sunday and then finished eighth, three seconds behind Henderson along side teammates Michael Golas and Borut Bozic. Golas is now sixth overall at 18 seconds, Bozic is eighth at 20 seconds and Hoogerland is 12th at 23 seconds.
“I think it’s very difficult for Henderson to keep the jersey. He is good on the hills, but we are getting to a few hilly stages, so I think it is difficult for him,” Hoogerland predicted.
Hoogerland seemed to be enjoying his first ever ride at the Tour of Britain. He was overlooked for a place in the Dutch squad for the world championships and Vacansoleil was snubbed for a place in the Vuelta a Espana.
“It was not what I expected. I spoke to Daniel Martin yesterday and he said tomorrow is not a heavy stage, and then I just wanted to take it easy until stages four and five, as I know these are the heavy stages of The Tour of Britain.”
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