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Tour of Britain 2016: Stage 6

 Hello and welcome to stage 6 of the Tour of Britain 2016. The 149.9km stage starts in Sidmouth and finishes atop Haytor on Dartmoor.

 A quick check of the weather: we should have a dry afternoon with highs of 17C. The westerly wind is forecast to get up in the afternoon reaching almost 40km/h. Given the aspect of the climb, that makes it a headwind which will disappoint the better climbers.

The rollout of Sidmouth is in just over 10 minutes. 

 

Haytor was first visited in 2013, when it also became the first summit finish in the modern Tour of Britain’s history. Simon Yates announced himself by sprinting out of the lead group for the win.

 

The climb’s vital statistics: it’s 5.8km long, with an average gradient of 6 per cent and a maximum of just over 20 per cent.

 

But before the riders get there, they have a great deal of climbing to contend with – more than 3,000m according to the Devon Tour of Britain website, though we have seen more conservative estimates elsewhere. There are three intermediate sprints at Tiverton (43.3km), Crediton (66.4km) and Chudleigh (136.7km). Four of the climbs have KOM points attached: Chineway Hill (9.8km, cat 2), Cadbury Hill (56km, Cat 3), Dunchideock (129.6km, cat 1) and Haytor (149.9km, cat 1). 

 

The race got away on schedule. An uncharacteristically short neutral section, just 3.8km today. It is uphill though.  

 

The riders are on wet roads to start with and it could get worse too - reports from along the route say it's chucking it down in places, which rather makes a mockery of the forecast I just gave.   

 

And we've got a break going clear:  Jasper Bovenhuis (SKT) Miguel Benito Diez (CJR) Tom Stewart (MGT) Giovanni Visconti (MOV). There's no chase from the peloton. 

 

The gap has shot out to more than a minute at the leaders prepare for the first climb of the day up Chineway Hill. Wet roads, but plenty of support out there.   

 

Bovenhuis leads the intermediate sprints competition, so he's looking good to pick up the points from at least the next two sprints. No one else in this group should be interested in contesting him  

 

You can read about yesterday's action here, and what was a great win for Jack Bauer of Cannondale-Drapac. 

 

Benito Diez the Caja Rural rider led the break up Chineway Hill. 

 

We've just seen some photos from Haytor. Wet, wet wet. 

 

Alex Blain of Madison-Genesis abandons. The Frenchman crashed yesterday.  

 

It's the second day in a row Movistar have put a man in the break. Today it's the three-time Italian champ, Giovanni Visconti, who also has a brace of Giro stages to his name.

 

Caja Rural's Miguel Benito Diez, 22, was in the break on stage 4.

 

Madison-Genesis rider Tom Stewart won the Velothon Wales earlier this year, a week after he won the Lincoln GP and finishing 11th at the Tour of Yorkshire. 

 

Jasper Bovenhuis the AN Post rider is currently leading the intermediate sprints competition and is in a good position to extend that lead further now. 

 

Results filter through from the first KoM. Xandro Meurisse (Wanty) gets another two points and stretches his lead to seven points. While Bovenhuis is pretty solid in the Intermediate sprints jersey, Meurisse could still be threatened in the mountains classification; there's an abundance of points on offer in the second half of this stage, with two cat 1 climbs.  

 

The riders completed more than 40km in the first hour of racing. 

 

 

Etixx-Quick Step are controlling at the front of the peloton as the leaders come through Tiverton for the first intermediate sprint. 

 

Benito Diez, who is in the break, punctures. 

 

Benito Diez is back with the leaders after getting his puncture sorted.   

 

While the leaders get ready to tackle Cadbury Hill, read about Matt Goss's retirement. At just 29, the Milan-San Remo winner is bidding adieu to the peloton, citing a lack of motivation and not getting the same buzz out of road racing.   

 

They had a quiet Tour of Britain so far but there's lots of good stuff about the Wiggins team here. There's a Q&A with Bradley Wiggins himself.   

 

And it's a very big day in the Vuelta as Nairo Quintana faces a stiff test to his race leadership in the tricky 37km time trial. Second-placed Chris Froome isn't exactly breathing down his neck at 3:37 back but the Spanish tour is a topsy turvy race and id that deficit is closed substantially it will make tomorrow's final summit finish more exciting than it otherwise might be.  

 

Back in the ToB, the leaders approach the second KoM. 

 

Dimension Data take up the chase at the head of the peloton. 

 

Lotto Soudal send Marcel Sieberg to the front of the peloton. They've got Tony Gallopin in fourth on GC. 

 

The leaders just empty their pockets of wrappers and they   take on musettes 

 

Now Richeze of Etixx-Quick Step sets the peloton's pace.  

 

Cavendish is looking comfortable towards the front of the peloton, sitting on his team-mate Jay Thompson's wheel. 

 

there's quite a blustery wind blowing around the race. The parcours is always jinking about, but when that wind is head-on, the riders will know about it.  

 

as a tall rangy sprinter, Bovenhuis looks the most uncomfortable in these small steep inclines. He bobs around a lot.  

 

Just under 60km to go and the gap is at a manageable 3:09. 

 

Visconti now leads the break as Sieberg parts the wind for the peloton.  The gap is a steady 3:08.   

 

Meanwhile at the back of the peloton, Wiggins tows Doull and a couple of other Wiggins men forward. 

 

The distance to go is tumbling at the moment as the riders enjoy a tailwind section. 10km has gone in the blink of an eye. 

 

Soudal are showing some intent here. De Buyst and Sieberg have been swapping over at the front here. They surely got the nod from Gallopin who must be feeling good for the stage.   

 

The riders are near a village called North Bovey where you can go hunting with falcons on horseback. Not my cup of tea, but I bet it's exciting.  

 

Bovenhuis has been dropped from the lead group. He hasn't looked comfortable for a while. 

 

It's a day of scudding showers. The riders are on wet roads and the peloton on dry roads. 

 

Visconti is pushing on here, keeping the pace high. The gap is 2:44.

 

Tom Stewart the Madison-Genesis rider just works the radio as Benito Diez misses the odd turn. Visconti  is the only one of the leaders who looks comfortable.  

 

this west-east section of the course is a roller coaster. It's tailwind assisted too.  

 

The leaders are having to take it easy in the infinite corners - there's a thick canopy over the damp winding road. 

 

Bovenhuis is now a minute or so back on the leaders. 

 

Visconti is the engine of this break. Behind, Benito Diez tried to skive a turn, but Stewart insisted.  

 

VIsconti squeezes the pressure on a rise. Not to drop them, just make sure there was no dead wood yet. 

 

Danny Van Poppel comes to the front of the peloton. That's Sky's first move to the front. No ill effects from his collision with a parked car yesterday. 

 

Bovenhuis who was in the break went straight out the back of the peloton. Long day for him ahead. 

 

It's 5km from the bottom of the final climb. 

 

Debusschere of Lotto Soudal is now hauling the peloton along.  

 

The race is fully on now - concentration is writ all over the faces of the peloton. 

 

The rain starts spattering again as the leaders start climbing Dunchideock. 

 

the gap has fallen to 2:00

 

Benito Diez is dropped from the leading group. 

 

just Visconti and Stewart at the head of the race. 

 

Stewart refused to come through there. It's up to Visconti now as Stewart approaches the end of his resources.    

 

BMC's Taylor Phinney comes to the front of the peloton, with his team-mate Rohan Dennis on his wheel. 

 

Benito Diez rejoins the leaders on a slight rise. that must've hurt 

the gap is less than 90 seconds now

 

The leaders are on the Dunchideock climb, but it feels like the riders have been ascending for a couple of kilometres already.  

 

Phinney's efforts on the front of the peloton are bringing this gap right down. it's under a minute and all the intervening team cars have been pulled from the gap. 

 

Sky line up on the front as Caleb Ewan, the Orica sprinter, is dropped from the peloton.  

 

Benito Diez finds the wherewithal to lead the leaders group briefly. And then Visconti attacks. Goes once and it's definitive. 

 

Stannard leads for Sky as Meurisse comes through in the peloton to pick up more mountains points.  

 

Stannard takes his helmet off - to get rid of a wasp? 

 

Visconti pushes a heavy gear as he descends Dunchideock. 

 

Greipel comes to the front of the peloton, reprising the domestique role he undertook yesterday. 

Meurisse gets fourth in the sprint - another 7 points there. That KoM jersey looks set on his shoulders. 

 

 Visconti's lead has been cut to 40 seconds. Stewart and Benito Diez are halfway in between. 

 

Benito Diez and Stewart will be swept up imminently 

 

a Cannondale rider just had to go onto a crowded pavement. no drama though.  

 

11km remaining from 150km

Visconti presses on, the lone leaderwith 20 seconds and 11km to go

 

The top of the GC are all ranked up near the front of the peloton. 

 

The whole Sky team lead the peloton. And Visconti has sat up. 

Cannondale bring Dylan Van Baarle to the front. 

 

We're now under 10km to go - 4km to the bottom of Hay Tor.  

 

Worth a quick look back to the 2013 ascent of Haytor. A 10-man group went under the flamme rouge together after numerous attacks on the preceding kilometres. That group included Wiggins Yates and Nairo Quintana. Simon Yates darted out in sight of the line for the win by two seconds. There were nine riders within 12 seconds and a further seven more within 31 seconds.   

 

Loic Vleigen leads the peloton for BMC. Rohan Dennis must be feeling good.  just 5km to go. 

 

A Bardiani rider attacks early on the climb - it's Zardini who won on the Tumble a couple of years ago. 

 

Rohan Dennis goes hard and gets a gap 

 

 

A Giant-Alpecin riders is bridging over. It looks like Dumoulin.  

 

And behind Dumoulin comes Wout Poels  

 

We'ver got a strong four man group at the front: Dennis, Dumoulin, Isaguirre of Movistar and Poels of Sky.  

 

Vermotes in trouble he's off the back. 

 

Tony Martin drives on the front. Etixx have switched to Dan Martin. 

 

Cummings is trying to bridge!

 

Vermote is on his own

 

He's got Gallopin on his wheel

 

they've done it. Gallopin and Cummings are across. It's early though. 

 

Wout Poels has a quick look at what's what. and another small group of Roche, and Van Baarle and Mosca try to come across. 1.9km to go 

 

Dumoulin moves on with Poels and Dennis. 

 

this looks strong. 

 

Cummings is forced to chase. 

 

Poels attacks on a small descent with 1.4km

 

Dumoulin chases with Dennis in his wheel

 

They're going to get a full on head wind in a second...

 

~Cummings is in the group behind with600m to go. 

 

Dumoulin goes but Cummings just keeps a steady pace

 

Big crowds on Haytor and Poels is in the barriers. 300m to go

 

Poels should ge tthis 

 

Dennis and Dumoulin fight for scraps 

 

It's Poels then Dennis and Dumoulin

 

Cummings is over the line. He'll be in yellow tonight

 

Vermote is now inside the barriers

 

Vermote grits his teeth, refusing to give up 

Tony Martin comes over the line. He looks a wreck. 

 

That's not a personal comment, he just looks really spent. 

 

That was a perfectly judged ride by Stephen Cummings. Moved ahead when he could but didn't blow up chasing moves.  

 

That's Wout Poels's second mountain top win in the Tour of Britain. He won on Hartside last year. 

 

Provisional stage results come in Cummings was 20 seconds off Poels's time but he still has a healthy margin over his rivals overall. There's been a big shake up on GC though.    

 

Cummings has 49 seconds Tom Dumoulin and 51 seconds over Dennis. That sets up a great TT battle tomorrow in Bristol. 

 

Here's the stage results:

1 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 4:56:15
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:06
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:08
4 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:12
5 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 0:00:16
6 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
8 Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data 0:00:20
9 Erick Roswell (GBr) (Madison-Genesis 0:00:30
10 Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team

 

And how things stand overall. 

1 Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data 27:01:11
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:49
3 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:51
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:53
5 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:57
6 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 0:00:58
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:01:06
8 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:14
9 Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:20
10 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
 

 

You can read a summary of the action here

I hope you can join us tomorrow. The important business of the time trial (a technical 14.2km around Bristol) gets underway at 10am. It's going to be tense, especially if the weather is as wet as the forecast predicts. In the afternoon the same course is turned into a tough 90.6km road circuit.     

 

 

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