Hello and welcome to stage 8 of the Tour of Britain 2016. The final stage consists if 16 laps of a flat 6.2km city centre circuit in central London.
It’s the fourth year in a row that London has hosted the finale of the race, though the circuit has changed in that time. However this year’s circuit is the same as last year.
The riders have been signing on since the team arrived in London about 90 minutes ago and the race will get underway in around 15 minutes.
The start and finish is on Regent Street which rises gently towards line. The course consists of three out-and-back spurs that converge at Trafalgar Square. The first spur heads up regent street, the second along The Strand and the third down Whitehall, before returning to the start/finish.
The riders are filling to the line. It's been a long old week for many with tough weather, tough roads and tough competition putting many on the limit. Just five minutes to go.
And out jersey leaders filter to the front of the peloton: Stephen Cummings in yellow, Rohan Dennis in the points, jersey, Xandro Meurisse in the KoM jersey and Jasper Bovenhuis in the Sprints jersey ,
We're underway and there's no neutral zone and a Madison-Genesis rider attacks straight away
Taylor Phinney (BMC) leads a four man group away
Bovenhuis, Tom Stewart, Phinney and Gabriel Cullaigh are the four escapees and they're getting a gap.
Bovenhui, will be happy with this: he just needs to get one of the intermediate sprints and the jersey is beyond reach of Greipel, who hasn't shown that much interest in it really. Better safe than sorry, is the Dutchman's motto, perhaps.
The gap is staying stubbornly low and so Bovenhuis is doing big turns.
Phinney doesn't seem to be feeling the effects of yesterday's crash on the wet roads in the Bristol time trial as he comes to the front.
CN's Daniel Benson had a word with Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish this morning. Here's what the Manxman had to say:
"After Steve [Cummings's] form it’s been great to be here after the Tour de France," he said. "It’s a big goal for us and we’ve fought for it. We’ve not won any stages but we’re looking forward to keeping the yellow jersey."
"I didn’t race here last year but it looked good on TV. I was getting shoulder surgery. I’ve been sick the last couple of days, actually, and had a stomach infection. If it wasn’t for the fact that this was the Tour of Britain and we were riding on home road I would have gone home."
London basks in glorious sunshine. It goes without saying, there are huge crowds out to see the race.
the lead has settled at 30 seconds now.
Orica-Bike Exchange put a man up to the front to keep the gap manageable. It's been a sparse tour for them. They were close to victory on stage 1 and 5, but are still seeking the breakthrough with Caleb Ewan.
Worth noting that six of the 11 WorldTour teams have got a stage win and Dimension Data are looking good for the overall.
And so with AN Post taking the intermediate sprints jersey and Wanty taking the KoM, it's been tough for the British domestic teams.
The Great Britain Gabriel Cullaigh just comes through for his turn on the front. The promising British youngsters won a stage of the Course de la Paix last year and was third at Kattekoers, the espoirs's version of Gent-Wevelgem this spring.
The points jersey is still an open competition. Rohan Dennis leads it after a first and second on yesterday's split stage, but he only has a six point gap to Dumoulin, and more dangerously still, Dylan Groenwegen. The LottoNL sprinter is only eight points back. If Dennis doesn't score any points, Groenewegen only needs to finish sixth or higher.
When the riders come through the line, only 12 laps remain.
Bovenhuis gets his points and the sprints jersey is his.
Daniel B also spoke to Sky's Elia Viviani who won here last year in slightly controversial circumstances, when Greipel was relegated for blocking him in the sprint.
"I have good memories from last year and the win in London," said the Olympic omniuim champ. "I’ve waited all week for this stage and I’m ready to try. We need to see how my legs are and I can go for the stage win.
"It’s really hard to come here after training that I did at home. This is a hard race but I really needed this intense week. If we win today that’s the best way to end the week but the big goal is next month and the Worlds."
On the Whitehall leg of the route, the leaders can give the peloton a wave on the other side of the road.
Dimension Data are in charge of the peloton as they bring the group through the finish.
Di Data's Jay Thompson is plugging away at the front of the peloton. He's been one of the key men for Di Data this week.
Cummings looks comfortable fourth in line in the Di Data train. Cavendish is in the sweeper role.
The gap to the leaders is now at 43 seconds, which is good going.
In the break, Phinney is doing the longest, hardest turns
The gap has just gone out again to almost a minute, with nine laps remaining.
James Shaw, Lotto-Soudal's young British trainee comes to the front. Orica and LottoNL may send men up too shortly if the break hits a minute.
Bovenhuis and Phinney have a word at the back of the front group.
Bovenhuis just leads the attack through the line at tempo.
There's an exclusive interview with Mark Cavendish as he builds up for the Worlds in Doha. He's confident he'll be going with the strongest team in the race. You can read the story here.
Back in the break Phinney is still doing big turns to keep the pace high.
LottoNL have contributed two men to the chase.
when the race does finally hit the last lap, there's a crucial 90-degree right hander where, if it's a bunch kick, the best spot will be third or fourth wheel.
The peloton is strung out and the gap has dropped to 42 seconds.
The gap is now being slowly reduced . It's at 38 seconds with 26km of racing. As LottoNL's Paul Maertens drives the pace in the peloton.
Bovenhuis has been dropped by the leaders. He'll be happy with his week's work though.
Orica send Amets Txurraka to the front. Not often you'll see a Basque climber doing this kind of donkey work.
Tom Stewart is really pressing on in some of these curvy corners.
At the front of the peloton, Johann Van Zyl does the pulling and they're down to 20 seconds behind the three leaders.
And we've got just three laps to go and less than an 18 second gap. This'll come down to a bunch sprint.
Now Etixx come to the front. The Argentinian Max Richeze is their man for the sprint.
And Phinney pushes hard and only Tom Stewart can follow. Cullaigh is dropped.
The gap is down to just six seconds and Phinney grimaces as they come up over the line.
Former yellow jersey Julien Vermote (Etixx) leads the peloton.
Phinney rests his forearms on the bars, trying to get aero
Etixx are in control of this now with the five man team right at the front.
The gap creeps up slightly as the peloton check their chase for now. Too soon?
And Alex Dowsett bridges the gap in seconds and teams up with Phinney and Stewart.
As the gap is closed Tom Stewart has one last effort in him and he has 20m over the bunch.
And that gap's closed. we're all together now.
Now One Pro Cycling come and lead the peloton with Steele Von Hoff in mind.
A Caja Rural rider gives it full gas and cuts a corner on the peloton and gets a gap as they hit the final lap. Less than 6km to go.
the Caja Rural rider is Goncalves says race radio.
Goncalves is caught.
Etixx Quick Step will take this into the technical finale as Tony Martin just powers on.
Nope, actually Sky come to the front now. Stannard gives it one last haul.
Stannard drops away and Swift comes to the front. they're looking after Viviani of course.
Richeze, Debusschere, Viviani and Groenewegen are all well placed as they come to the technical finale.
Greipel and Ewan are also in contention.
Debusschere is in the final strasight solo
and gets it.
Groenewegen was second I think.
Lotto Soudal tried a sleight of hand there by letting the gap go in the technical section but Ewan easily came passed Debusschere as he started to tire. The young Aussie's got the acceleration of a Scalextric car.
It's job done for Stephen Cummings who confirms his GC victory.
Here's the stage top 10:
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange 2:09:24
2 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
3 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4 Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
5 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
6 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
7 Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
8 Steele Von Hoff (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling
9 Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF
10 Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF
And here's the top 10 on GC:
1 Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data 29:21:21
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:26
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:38
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:01:02
5 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac 0:01:21
6 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:01:26
7 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 0:01:48
8 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:52
9 Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:12
10 Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:32
Congratulation to Stephen Cummings on a fine ToB victory. He's been second twice so he puts that straight and Dimension Data defend the title they won last year with Edvald Boasson Hagen.
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