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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 6 of the Tour of Britain, the queen stage of the race from Barrow-in-Furness to the Whinlatter Pass, which we saw in the yesterday's team time trial.
Today we have 168.3km featuring four first category climbs and a third category climb en route to the finish, with plenty more climbing besides. The stage features two ascents of Whinlatter Pass. We saw it at the end of yesterday's team time trial, but rather than that 6km, 4% road, the riders will be tackling the 3km, 7% side this afternoon.
A few words from race leader Primož Roglič, speaking after LottoNL-Jumbo's TTT win yesterday:
Dutch team LottoNL-Jumbo put in something of a surprising ride yesterday, blowing the field apart and winning the team time trial a full 16 seconds ahead of second-placed Quick Step Floors.
Katusha-Alpecin were third, while Team Sky and BMC – two favourites for the win – finished fourth and sixth, 26 and 38 seconds down, respectively.
Here's a look at the general classification heading into today's decisive stage:
1. Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) 15:45.04
2. Jullian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) +00:06
3. Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) +00:16
4. Patrick Bevin (BMC) +00:24
5. Wout Poels (Team Sky) +00:26
6. Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) +00:34
7. Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar) +00:36
8. Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) +00:37
9. Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo) +00:37
10. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) +00:42
The riders will set off in seven minutes, with a 15-minute neutralised zone to come before the race proper begins.
A quick look at the standings in the race for the minor jerseys as the riders roll out for the race start:
Points (dark blue jersey)
1. Patrick Bevin (BMC) 40pts
2. Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal) 30pts
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) 27pts
KOM (black jersey)
1. Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) 34pts
2. Scott Davies (Dimension Data) 26pts
3. Matthew Holmes (Madison-Genesis) 24pts
Sprints (red jersey)
1. Matthew Holmes (Madison-Genesis) 9pts
2. Matthew Teggart (Team Wiggins) 9pts
3. Matthew Bostock (Great Britain) 7pts
Ten minutes until the flag drops, and we expect a hectic start as riders try to make the break of the day. There's a maximum of 45 KOM points and 9 sprint points on offer today, meaning possible big rewards for the strongest men out front.
Our man on the road William Fotheringham is reporting strong winds outon the road, saying we could see echelon action as early as 2km into the race. The peloton start off by the coast before heading inland to the Lake District today.
EF-Drapac, Team Sunweb, Direct Énergie and a selection of British domestic teams are prominent at the front of the peloton as they roll through the neutralised zone. The presence of certain teams and riders leading the peloton before the race start should be an indicator of who's keen to get in the break.
EF-Drapac are down two riders today. Their sprinters Dan McLay and Sacha Modolo (who finished second on stage 4) missed the time cut in the team time trial yesterday.
168km remaining from 169km
And we're off! The flag drops and the attacks fly right away.
Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Énergie) is among the first to try a dig, along with a number of riders from British Continental teams.
Moreno Hofland (Lotto-Soudal) and Maximilano Richeze (Quick Step Floors) are trying a move now as the peloton hits the coast.
163km remaining from 169km
Team Sky and LottoNL-Jumbo are putting on the pace at the front of the peloton, with no attacks successful thus far.
Here's the scenery on show at the moment. There are splits in the peloton with Sky pushing on in the crosswinds.
Dmitry Strakhov (Katusha-Alpecin), who lay 11th overall at the start of the day, is among those to have been distanced. Stage 2 winner Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) has missed the split too, as is KOM leader Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data).
154km remaining from 169km
A couple of riders have clipped off the front of the peloton – Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin) and Matti Breschel (EF-Drapac).
The time gap between the front peloton and those who missed the split is 35 seconds. Quick Step Floors are on the front of the peloton now.
It's no surprise that Iljo Keisse is leading the way. He's been working for several hours almost every day so far.
151km remaining from 169km
We're almost at the first intermediate sprint of the day. Quick Step are clearly working for Julian Alaphilippe, who can cut Roglič's lead if he wins this.
Alaphilippe eases across the line and takes the 3 bonus seconds. Two of his Quick Step teammates take second and third, meaning Alaphilippe moves up from 6 to just 3 seconds behind Roglič. Jungels took second, so he now lies 14 seconds behind the race leader.
There's no letup on the front of the peloton as a few attacks fly in the town of Ulverston. The gap to the second group on the road is now approaching a minute.
Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Max Schachmann (Quick Step Floors) are among those attempting to break away.
148km remaining from 169km
Now Martin has James Shaw (Lotto-Soudal) and Connor Swift (Madison-Genesis) for company as Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) comes across.
Primož Roglič has been caught in a crash. We just saw his teammate assisting him with his bike. It doesn't look too serious as the Slovenian was standing up with his bike.
The delay could mean that the second group can make up some ground on the peloton though.
A number of Quick Step riders are at the back of the peloton now. It looks like Julian Alaphilippe went down in that crash.
The break is established now, with the four men secure out front. There's a chase group on the road too.
Matti Breschel (EF-Drapac), Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data), Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), red jersey Matt Holmes (Madison-Genesis), Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Rory Townsend (Canyon-Eisberg) are the chasers.
Meanwhile the peloton and the group dropped in the winds are back together.
138km remaining from 169km
Here are the best-placed men on GC in the breakaway groups:
James Shaw +02:31
Scott Thwaites +02:50
Connor Swift +03:20
Vasil Kiryienka +04:02
Robert Power +04:20
Matt Holmes +05:17
Despite the chasing group having more riders, they'll have their work cut out reaching the leading break, which is being powered along by Tony Martin and Vasil Kiryienka. The duo have won five World time trial Championship titles between them, finishing first and second in 2016.
131km remaining from 169km
The second group really aren't making any headway into the break's lead, and are in fact losing time to the peloton.
128km remaining from 169km
Matt Holmes (Madison-Genesis) has been one of the most active riders in the race so far. The Lancastrian has been in the break twice so far, and took the maximum 24 KOM points and 9 sprint points on stage 4. He's out front today too, but it looks like his group won't last very long as the LottoNL-Jumbo- and Quick Step-led peloton closes in on them.
126km remaining from 169km
We're approaching the first climb of the day, which starts in 3km. The top of Hawkshead Hill comes with 121km to race. It's 2.3km long with a 6.8% average gradient and a maximum gradient of 14.5%. It's a first category climb, meaning 10 points are up for grabs at the top, running down to a single point for the tenth rider across the line.
As the breakaway race towards Hawkshead Hill, here's a look at Coniston Water, which the riders passed by a while ago. There's some great scenery in this part of the UK.
The peloton have caught that second break group. With the remaining break containing four men who aren't an age back on GC, they won't get much freedom today.
Swift leads Martin, Shaw and Kiryienka over the line. It wouldn't be a shock to see Swift's teammate Matt Holmes try for some points from the peloton.
Black jersey Dlamini attacks the peloton along with Holmes. There's still 6 points up for grabs here.
119km remaining from 169km
It looked close between the two, but Holmes took it. Holmes was ten points behind the Dimension Data man at the start of the day, and that deficit is now down to nine.
114km remaining from 169km
The first intermediate sprint of the day is just 2km away. Only six points remain on offer for the breakaway today, meaning that Holmes is safe in red today. Shaw might try for the bonus seconds seeing as he's the best-placed man on GC, 2:31 behind the race lead.
The peloton are two minutes behind the break now.
Shaw does go for the sprint. He takes the three bonus seconds in Ambleside. The Brit is currently around half a minute down in the virtual general classification, for what it's worth.
111km remaining from 169km
LottoNL-Jumbo are unsurprisingly leading the peloton. We're 10km away from the 'easiest' climb of the day, Dunmail Rise.
Here's our next climb. There are five points on offer at the top, which comes with 101km to go. With the break mopping up the first four places, it looks like we'll see Dlamini and Holmes scrap over fifth place.
And the break are on the climb now.
102km remaining from 169km
Holmes has attacked the peloton. He really wants that KOM jersey.
Up front, Swift rolls over the summit ahead of Martin, Shaw and Kiryienka.
Holmes takes the single point on offer for fifth place. He's half a minute ahead of the peloton at the moment, with 23km to go until the top of the next climb of Whinlatter Pass. Stick or twist?
The virtual KOM standings are now: Dlamini on 39 points, Holmes on 31 and Scott Davies (Dimension Data) on 26.
And Holmes decides against going it alone. He's caught by the peloton.
We're inside 100km to go now, and James Shaw is the virtual race leader.
The peloton ride through the feed zone, with LottoNL-Jumbo not letting up their pace.
89km remaining from 169km
The gap has gone out a touch though, up to 3:15 now. The Dutch team remain on the front.
We're 6km from the bottom of the first ascent of Whinlatter Pass now. Here's a look at the 3.2km climb, which averages 7%. There are sections with a gradient of over 10% though, with maximum gradients of 17% midway through the climb before it eases up towards the top.
Ten points are on offer for the first man over the top of the first category climb, so we're looking at six points for the first man in the peloton.
79km remaining from 169km
Holmes and Dlamini are off the front of the peloton on the Whinlatter Pass. Looks like it'll be a one-point swing either way once again.
Holmes has dropped Dlamini. Still, unless Dlamini is caught by the peloton, he will probably only gain one point on the Dimension Data man.
As he did on the previous two climbs, Connor Swift leads it over the top. And once again the order of the next three riders is Martin, Shaw and Kiryienka. Holmes presses on solo behind.
74km remaining from 169km
It's now 44 KOM points for Dlamini and 37 for Holmes.
There's 15km to go until the top of the next climb, Fang's Brow. Holmes looks to be pushing on alone rather than dropping back to the peloton
Holmes is still solo, hanging around two minutes behind the break.
62km remaining from 169km
The break is about to hit Fang's Brow. Another first category climb, the 1.8km climb averages 6%. Another 10 points are up for grabs for the first man over the top.
Surprise, surprise – Swift takes the points at the top. Martin, Kiryienka and Shaw follow the British champion over the summit. Holmes will be next and we expect Dlamini to nip out of the peloton for five points.
A couple of riders have attacked the peloton. Dlamini and Richard Handley (Madison-Genesis) were out front over the top of the climb. Madison are doing whatever they can to prevent Dlamini from taking points, but there's no word on if they succeeded this time.
53km remaining from 169km
For the first time in a while, LottoNL-Jumbo's hold on the front of the peloton is broken as Quick Step Floors take the front. It's Iljo Keisse yet again.
It seems that Dlamini took sixth on Fang's Brow. If that's confirmed then he'll be leading the KOM standings with 49 points to Holmes' 43. Connor Swift has also entered the picture – he's on 35 points after today's efforts.
We're in the final 50km now, and the gap is dropping towards two minutes.
41km remaining from 169km
The gap is edging down now. Since Quick Step have taken the front of the peloton it has come down to 1:30. We haven't seen Moses get swept up, but we assume he's back in the peloton.
The break is now 13km away from the final intermediate sprint of the day. It looks like Quick Step want to bring the break back before then to get Julian Alaphilippe three more bonus seconds.
36km remaining from 169km
The break just passed through a sprint point, but it's not the 'proper' intermediate sprint, just a special £1,000 prime sprint. Swift takes it, obviously.
Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) is working on the front of the peloton now. He's been a great team player this week.
30km remaining from 169km
The clouds have opened and the rain is falling as the riders head towards the sharp end of the race. Quick Step haven't made enough headway to get Alaphilippe to the intermediate sprint first, and the gap remains at around 1:30 with 30km to go.
Oh, Holmes is seemingly still out there on his own somewhere.
28km remaining from 169km
The break will probably roll through the final intermediate sprint of the day in Cockermouth.
They did roll though, but Swift made sure that he took the points. Kiryienka and Shaw followed him across the line.
It's the second day in a row that a Madison-Genesis rider has swept the KOM and sprint points. Of course there's still the summit finish on Whinlatter Pass to come, but we'll let them off that one.
Ah, Alaphilippe won the first intermediate sprint, didn't he. Well, close enough for Swift – still a great job from the British champion.
22km remaining from 169km
22km to go and it's still Quick Step and LottoNL-Jumbo at the front of the peloton with the gap at 1:20. It's the last chance for riders to take any food or drink on board today.
It's still up and down on rolling roads as they head towards Whinlatter Pass. Kiryienka leads the breakaway down a descent.
The peloton is really lined out now. Max Schachmann drives them along, though the break is holding its lead well.
The gap is hanging around the minute mark. Not much change despite Quick Step's efforts. LottoNL-Jumbo aren't working, of course. The Dutch team would rather see the breakaway take the bonus seconds at the finish as Alaphilippe would surely outsprint Roglič if they came to the line together.
9km remaining from 169km
The time gap is under a minute now. Direct Énergie has come to the front of the peloton.
Here's a look at Whinlatter Pass again. The KOM summit comes 200 metres before the finish, with a sharp right-hand turn towards the visitors centre atop the hill the final obstacle before the finish line.
The stats are the same as before, obviously – it's 3.2km long, with an average gradient of 7%, but with sections in the dobule digits and maximum gradients of 17%.
Check the virtual standings on the right for the time gaps going into this summit finish. Alaphilippe needs a mere 3 seconds on green jersey Roglič to take the race lead. Put simply, if the Frenchman wins the stage and Roglič finishes second, the time bonus will put Alaphilippe inthe lead.
6km remaining from 169km
BMC and Great Britain have moved to the front now too.
5km remaining from 169km
We're inside the final 5km now. The break is just 1.5km from the climb, and they're 20 seconds ahead of the peloton.
4km remaining from 169km
Just 15 seconds for the leaders now. We're almost on Whinlatter Pass.
Connor Swift, who has led over every sprint and mountain point today, goes for it on the lower slopes of the climb. Shaw chases him.
Shaw puts up the last act of resistance. The peloton is upon him.
3km remaining from 169km
It's over for the break as Jungels powers along at the head of the peloton. there's a gap between Jungels and Alaphilippe and the rest of the peloton already, wow.
A Movistar rider has made it across to the two Quick Step men.
2km remaining from 169km
Roglič is fighting to make it across to the trio. The Movistar man is Jasha Sütterlin.
It's now Jungels, Alaphilippe, Roglič, Carthy up front in that order.
Needless to say, the peloton has exploded.
2km remaining from 169km
Alaphilippe goes for it with 2km to go. Roglič is on his wheel immediately. Carthy chases.
Carthy catches and puts in an attack.
It's that trio at the head of the race now.
Quite a big gap to the rest of the 'peloton'. Carthy is pushing on with Alaphilippe on his wheel.
The gap must be 10-15 seconds.
1km remaining from 169km
Poels is trying to get across now.
And Roglič blows! Alaphilippe has attacked.
1km remaining from 169km
Poels has passed Roglič. Carthy battles on to the wheel of Alaphilippe.
We're almost into the final kilometre now. Alaphilippe is riding into green.
Roglič is in a small chase group, around 15 seconds behind Alaphilippe.
Now it's Carthy, Alaphilippe and Poels up front. 800 metres to go.
It's over for Roglič.
Poels is riding for a podium, Carthy for the stage win, and Alaphilippe for the overall. I'm sure they'll all contest the sprint though.
500 metres to go.
Poels goes! Carthy drops.
Alaphilippe can't live with Poels' attack!
Poels rounds the final bend ahead of the Frenchman.
Wout Poels (Team Sky) has won stage 6 of the Tour of Britain!
Carthy finished in third, some 12 seconds down, while Roglič lost maybe 30 seconds. Alaphilippe is the new race leader.
It's Poels' fourth stage win at the Tour of Britain.
Here's the stage 6 result:
1. Wout Poels (Team Sky) 4:01:51
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) +00:02
3. Hugh Carthy (EF-Drapac) +00:12
4. Jonathan Hivert (Direct Énergie) +00:21
5. Patrick Bevin (BMC)
6. Tom Pidcock (Team Wiggins)
7. Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)
8. Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)
9. Max Stedman (Canyon-Eisberg)
10. Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar)
General classification after stage 6:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) 19:46:54
2. Wout Poels (Team Sky) +00:17
3. Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) +00:32
4. Patrick Bevin (BMC) +00:46
5. Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) +00:51
6. Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar) +00:58
7. Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:09
8. Dmitry Strakhov (Katusha-Alpecin) +01:24
9. Chris Hamilton (Team Sunweb) +01:28
10. Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) +01:35
Stage winner Wout Poels:
So after all the excitement, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) takes the leader's green jersey and looks set to keep it until the end of the race barring a disaster.
Patrick Bevin's (BMC) fifth place on the stage means he keeps the blue points jersey. He has 51 points, while Alaphilippe lies second on 42.
Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) successfully retained his black KOM jersey. His 49 points lead Thomas Moses (Madison-Genesis), who has 43.
Moses is still in the red sprints jersey though, with 9 points – equal with Matthew Teggart (Team Wiggins).
New general classification leader Julian Alaphilippe:
Here's a look at tomorrow's penultimate stage. We're heading to Nottinghamshire for the longest day of the race at 215km. It should be interesting to see if Holmes can wrest the black jersey away from Dlamini, but aside from that we're looking at a nailed-on bunch sprint and another round of Greipel vs Ewan, Gaviria and the rest.
That concludes our live coverage of the sixth stage of the Tour of Britain. It's an earlier start tomorrow – the race starts at 10:30am UK time, so we'll be up and running for 10am. See you then!
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