Hello and welcome to stage 5 of the Tour of Britain. Today’s 194.5km stage takes the race from Aberdare in South Wales over the border to Bath in Somerset.
Today's weather forecast looks good: dry and mostly sunny with a few cloudy spells. There's a breezy westerly blowing (about 30km/h) which might season the action in the final 30km. .
It's just under 10 minutes until the race rolls out of Aberdare. There's an 8.3km neutral section first, and that takes the total distance over 200km.
It’s another rolling stage, with three intermediate sprints and three category 2 climbs.
The sprints are at Usk (44km), Stroud (129/8km) and Pucklechurch (174.1km).
The climbs come all day, but the categorised ones are at Stowe Green (76.9km), Speech House (87.2km), and Selsley Common (132.9km).
And stage 5 is underway. The riders are rolling out of Aberdare.
You can read about how LottoNL-Jumbo got their positioning in yesterday's technical finale bang-on to guarantee their sprinter Dylan Groenewegen victory here.
It's worth noting that there were some changes to the overall yesterday: Etixx-QuickStep's Julian Vermote still leads, Di-Data's Steve Cummings by 6 seconds, but Sky's Ben Swift is now up to third, 1:03 back which is the same time as Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal).
The flag's dropped and as usual the attacking started straight away. The active teams include LottoNl, AN Post, and the British domestic teams.
Six riders stole a march, but the peloton are bringing it back.
Jasper Bovenhuis, the AN Post rider wearing the intermediate sprint jersey has been an early agitator as he tries to get in the break and mop up more points.
It's still all together though.
Bovenhuis goes again, this time with a group of 11. They have a slim 12 second gap, says Race Radio.
That didn't last. As they're brought back, another six try their luck.
Nope, no joy for that sextet either. We're hearing that the fast pace is taking its toll at the other end of the peloton as riders are dropped.
The riders have another short sharp ascent coming in the next few kilometres. Will this be where a break finally makes it?
Indeed, four riders are forging clear but their gap is small and the peloton chasing hard.
There a long descent coming into the Vale of Usk.
Our four riders are Bauer (Cannondale), Moinard (BMC) Rowsell (Madison-Genesis) and McEvoy (NFTO)
Movistar's Javier Moreno is a lone chaser.
the gap's up to almost a minute. this looks good for our foursome that may become a party of five.
Moreno was a strong rider for Movistar on the Cumbria stage, the group'd do well to lay up for him.
The gap between leaders and peloton breaks 60 seconds.
And the chasers have eased up to allow Moreno to catch on.
The riders have the benefit of the prevailing wind at the moment and have covered 46.3km in the first hour.
There's a lot to this group. Bauer's rated as one of the best domestiques in the peloton; Moreno's another strongman with plenty of solid results under his belt for Movistar and Moinard is a regular in BMC's Tour team as a versatile domestique. Erick Rowsell rode a couple of seasons with the NetApp-Endura squad and finished eighth at the Tour de Yorkshire last year. Johnny McEvoy is also going well at the moment and was in the break on stage 1.
Rowsell is the best on GC among the leaders, 16th at 4:39.
Results of the first intermediate sprint:
No effect on that jersey.
The gap has now hit 2:00.
This break are steadily increasing their advantage. It's up to 3:00 now with just over 60km raced.
This edition of the ToB could be a homage to William Wordsworth. We passed through Grasmere in Cumbria on Monday, one of the many haunts of the Romantic poet in the Lakes and today we've just passed the abbey, which inspired the poem, "Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey". On Saturday, the race visits Bristol for the day, where he also spent time.
We'll have Raptor Corner in a little while, but back in the race, that gap is starting to fall. It's down to 2:30. The peloton know who they're dealing with today.
Stowe Green, the first KoM climb, looms on the horizon
Wordsworth was mates with Samuel Coleridge who was born in Ottery Saint Mary, which is a few miles from the start of tomorrow's stage start in Sidmouth. I wonder if Andy Hawes, the route designer is a big fan of the Romantics?
The results from the first KoM:
The big battle will have been for the solitary point available to the peloton, between Sky's Nicolas Roche who is second in the KoM competition and the narrow leader Xandro Meurisse, the Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider.
Meurisse got it, by the way. Now he has a three point lead over Roche.
Riders are in the Forest of Dean, which is home to lots of mountain bikers and also Goshawks. The very elusive birds of prey can be spotted at the RSPB Nagshead, which is a few kilometres from Speech House, our second and upcoming KoM.
Wow, the lead has ballooned out to 5:20 now.
93km remaining from 205km
With just over 92km to go there's a split in the peloton. Dimension Data have forced it. Vermote the yellow jersey is safely ensconced.
that group looks like it numbers about 30 and has 10-15 seconds. We're waiting to get cameras on it, but Cavendish is there
The leaders still have over 4:00 on the peloton.
That split in the peloton has been closed.
It's lunchtime for the riders. Jack Bauer is eating a sandwich.
At the front of the peloton, Ian Stannard and Stephen Cummings have a chinwag.
Then Cummings drops back and slips into line in front of Cavendish.
Ian Stannard is towing the peloton along. Sky will want this to come together at the end as it has options. Ben Swift was up there yesterday and the day before Danny Van Poppel.
the riders are cruising along some lovely wide open roads as they pass through Gloucester. Huge crowds out to support them.
76km remaining from 205km
Our quintet are working nicely together and behind the peloton are cool, calm and collected as Sky and Dimension Data tap out a steady rhythm.
There's been a small crash in the peloton, including the aforementioned Van Poppel, he's back up and riding though.
A parked car was the culprit.
Lotto-Soudal send a man to help with the chase. the gap is around 3:55.
There's a crosswind in some of the exposed sections now. The rider will have it, on and off, for the next 35-40km then it should turn into a tailwind when the riders start heading in a more easterly direction.
Lotto-Soudal's James Shaw asked for some help from LottoNl's Bert-Jan Lindeman at the front of the peloton, who grudgingly comes through.
When the riders get through the next sprint in Stroud, they've got a climb on to Selsley Common, which is exposed. there's a long draggy section before they drop down again. It's still 60kmfrom the finish but looks like mischief making terrain.
Rowsell has just taken the sprint in in Stroud, so a couple more seconds in bonuses there.
62km remaining from 205km
And we're onto the climb to Selsley Common.
The break is 5:25 ahead now and peloton is starting to show some intent. The peloton's problem is a lack of manpower though. Lindeman is LottoNL's sole delegate at the front,who's sharing the work with Lotto Soudal's James Shaw. Dimension Data is lined up in their wheels. The South African squad is going to have to do a lot of work soon.
The leaders go through the summit of the climb.
The gap is now 5:51.
Lindeman just flicks an elbow as he takes a breather on the climb through Selsley. Meurisse, the KoM leader comes to the front to take more points in that competition. He's uncontested. Roche has lost interest.
Just a recap on the race situation. A five-man break - Johnny McEvoy (NFTO), Erick Rowsell (Madison-Genesis), Jack Bauer (Cannondale-Drapac), Amael Moinard (BMC) and Javier Moreno (Movistar) - are 5:21 ahead of the peloton, which is led by three sprinters' teams: Lotto Soudal, LottoNL and Dimension Data.
Crahs in the peloton and Rick Zabel (BMC) is down but ok.
It's taking him a while to get his bike sorted. A Cannodale rider unclipped a shoe for some reason and the slight deviation brought down Zabel.
There's certainly some more urgency in the peloton. Let's say they're on amber alert.
Johnny McEvoy looks like he might he's just able to hang on to the leaders on an uncategorised climb. They're also turning up the pace.
The lead has dropped below 5:00
Kristian House is dropped from the peloton, which is led by Lotto Jumbo's Paul Martens.
And at the front Jack Bauer engages another gear and just squeezes the pace in the front group.
We're nearly at 40km to go and the break is really pushing on.
They're working smoothly too.
The break is holding steady at 4:10.
It's certainly looking breezy out there as we see yesterday's most aggressive rider, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani) goes back for bottles
Many of the teams in the peloton have gone back to get bottles. There's only 34.5km to go.
The gap has dropped to 3:39 and Jack Bauer is doing long turns in the break.
the two Lotto's, Jumbo and Soudal have committed two men apiece to the chase and gap is tumbling now. It's at 2:51 now.
the large frame of Marten Wynants for Lotto Jumbo comes to the front of the peloton to put his shoulder to the wheel.
The leaders have just gone through the final sprint which they just rolled through, unwilling to break the rhythm. The gap hovers just above 2:00.
Looking ahead to the finish in just under 15km, it’s more straight forward than yesterday’s. When the riders pass under the red kite they have a 600m straight before a 90-degree lefthander onto a gently rising road. 200m later there’s another 90-degree corner into the Park and the finishing straight.
with 14km to go the gap is now just 1:30. There is a steep hill with 10km to go so the leader group is probably going to fracture there.
Greipel comes to the front and Lotto have probably switched to Jens Debusschere.
We're inside 10km to go and the gap is a 60 seconds. The group are still working well.
Greipel comes to the fore at the peloton again.
Moreno just slips to the back of the group and takes a swig of juice. the gap is a solid minute.
Lotto Jumbo's Wynants comes to the front and takes over from Jasper de Buyst of Lotto Soudal.
the German champion Greipel comes to the front of the peloton. but the gap isn't coming down fast: it's at 53 seconds
the leaders start to climb and Moinard attacks
the leaders start to climb and Moinard attacks
Bauer engages turbo diesel to try and bring him back with the other three on his wheel.
Moinard is still just out front. The peloton is at 50 seconds.
the break is back together.
This is looking good for the break.
Stannard comes to the front for Sky to try and bring this gap down, but these are fast roads.
the break start looking at each other the gap tumbles
Moinard goes again
2.6km to go and he's on his own. the peloton is half a minute back.
Bauer is in hot pursuit. gaps between all the breakaway men
McEvoy is swept up
under the flamme rouge
the break is back together...and Bauer goes
Moreno leads into the straight can he hold on?
Bauer get it
Jack Bauer timed that perfectly.
he tapped off the gas to let Moreno come through and then was easily strong enough to see off Moinard in the sprint.
The peloton were hot on their heels there.
There shouldn't be any change at the top of the GC.
Here's the stage top 10:
1 Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac 5:45:25
2 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
3 Erick Rowsell (GBr) Madison Genesis
4 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
5 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
6 Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
9 Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF
10 José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
And the top 10 on GC:
1 Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 23:07:29
2 Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data 0:00:06
3 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:03
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
5 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:04
6 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert 0:01:08
7 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac 0:01:12
8 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
9 Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:16
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
And that’s a wrap for today. Come back tomorrow for the key stage that finishes on Haytor. When the race last visited in 2013, the 6km Dartmoor climb served up an unforgettable day’s racing, with a young Simon Yates sprinting out of the lead group for a solo win. Tomorrow’s stage is only 150km long but has more than 3,000m of climbing on steep and narrow roads. It’ll be a corker. The race starts at 11.30.
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