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Tour of Britain 2018: Stage 7

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 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the penultimate stage of the 2018 Tour of Britain running 215.6km from West Bridgford to Mansfield.

It should be a day for the sprinters, with three fourth category climbs coming in the first half of the stage before a few unclassified lumps near the end of the stage.

André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) is among the favourites for the win today. He's already won two stages this week. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) should be the German's biggest rivals for the win.

Here's the general classification heading into this weekend. We're not expecting any big changes here given the nature of the stage.

The peloton will be riding out of West Bridgford in around five minutes, with a 15-minute neutralised zone coming before the start proper.

Yesterday's stage to Whinlatter Pass saw Wout Poels (Team Sky) take the stage win. The Dutchman rode across to an attacking group comprised of Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors), Hugh Carthy (EF-Drapac) and Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) before outpacing Alaphilippe to the line.

And we're off. The peloton are riding through the neutralised zone now.

We could see a fight for the black KOM jersey today. Matthews Holmes (Madison-Genesis) lies just six points behind Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data), who leads on 49 points. There are nine points up for grabs today.

215km remaining from 223km

It's no surprise that Holmes and Dlamini are among those at the front of the peloton.

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Holmes is still having a go, while Dlamini is sticking right on his wheel.

Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) is trying again.

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A group of around 22 riders have split from the front of the peloton now. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) are up there.

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Moreno Hofland (Lotto-Soudal), his teammate James Shaw, Nils Politt and Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) are also involved.

Team Sky are chasing the large group down.

That break group has been brought back now. We're about to hit the climb.

196km remaining from 223km

The peloton is lined out behind Chavanel. It seems that nobody is keen to let any moves go yet.

Stannard tries again on the climb but can't get a gap.

Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) leads over the first climb of the day. Neither Dlamini or Holmes took points.

194km remaining from 223km

There are around three groups splintered off the front of the peloton on the descent.

The peloton have calmed down now, and they're happy to let the break go. We'll let you know when we have confirmation of the group.

Ian Stannard is up front alone, while Nils Politt has dropped back to a chase group.

Stannard dropped back to the chasers.

183km remaining from 223km

Madison-Genesis tried to close the gap with Connor Swift at the front of the peloton, but they seem to have given up now. The gap is edging out towards a minute.

175km remaining from 223km

Quick Step Floors are leading the peloton. We're 10km from the next classified climb, Bank Hill.

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Politt rolls over the summit ahead of McNally and Paton.

With that result, Dlamini confirms his black KOM jersey win. There's just one climb left in the race now, offering three points, and the Dimension Data man enjoys a six-point lead.

A mere 150km to go now.

And here's the final climb of the day, and of the race as a whole. The break are 2km away from the start.

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The time gap between the break and peloton is almost seven minutes at the moment.

The situation is still largely the same with 128km to go. A Sunweb rider has moved to the front of the peloton now, too.

Over in the Vuelta, Michał Kwiatkowski is out in the break along with Michael Woods, Nicolas Roche, Alessandro De Marchi, Thomas De Gendt and Iván García Cortina. They are three minutes ahead of the peloton after 30km of racing.

119km remaining from 223km

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Add your source here: https://twitter.com/quickstepteam/status/1038401250667245569

https://twitter.com/quickstepteam/status/1038401250667245569

The intermediate sprint is up in 3km. Some action, finally!

102km remaining from 223km

Paton does indeed take the points. He's on 7 now.

Here's a shot of the break from a few minutes ago. It's a nice day for a bike race.

Team Sunweb, Mitchelton-Scott and Quick Step Floors are on the front of the peloton at the moment.

92km remaining from 223km

1km to the second sprint of the day now.

And Paton takes the maximum three points, ahead of McNally and Stannard. The Canyon-Eisberg man is the new leader of the sprints classification.

80km remaining from 223km

It's still raining.

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@Quickstepteam

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The gap is coming down as we get closer to the finish. It's under five minutes now.

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The peloton is really lined out here.

43km to go and the peloton are 4:30 down on the break. No echelons, unfortunately.

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So now it's just Stannard, Carboni and Politt up front.

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@Quickstepteam

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Over in Spain there's under 50km to the line, another ludicrously steep summit finish at Les Praeres. A strong six-man break is two minutes up on the peloton as they hit the final climbs of the stage.

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Stannard looked down and his glasses fell from his helmet onto the road. I'm sure he has other things on his mind right now, though.

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Politt hasn't made it back. The German's hopes of winning are fading by the metre.

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Ian Stannard (Team Sky) wins stage 7 of the Tour of Britain!

Politt crosses the line just under a minute down.

Quick Step are leading the peloton. The points classification is up for grabs, with Patrick Bevin (BMC) leading on 51 points. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) has 41, and André Greipel  (Lotto-Soudal) is on 30.

Carboni waves at the crowd as he crosses the line, just over three minutes down.

And McNally is fourth, just under four minutes back.

It looked like Emīls Liepiņš (One Pro Cycling) led the peloton across the line, with Bevin and Ethan Hayer (Great Britain) also up there.

Here's the stage 7 top ten:

Ian Stannard's post-race interview:

General classification after stage 7:

With Alaphilippe secure in first overall, Dlamini secure in his KOM jersey and Bevin enjoying an unassailable 20-point lead in the points jersey, all that's left to fight for is tomorrow's stage win and the sprints classification.

Tomorrow's stage is a pretty simple one – 14 laps of the 5.3km Central London circuit, with three sprints along the way. At 77km it's the shortest road stage of the race too.

And that's it from me today. Join me tomorrow afternoon (at the later of 3pm UK time) for the final stage of the Tour of Britain!

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