Time Trial Victory for British Team Ineos Grenadiers
Ineos Grenadiers claimed victory in the team time trial on Tuesday to propel Ethan Hayter into the overall lead, while the Englishman also now leads the points classification.
The 18.1km route in Carmarthenshire, South Wales saw several teams register impressive times, with the course throwing up technical climbs and fast dipping descents.
Both Deceuninck-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma clocked in with impressive rides, and the latter will certainly be left pondering what could have been after Pascal Eenkoorn dramatically suffered a puncture within the final kilometre, leaving teammates Wout van Aert, Tony Martin, and George Bennett to cross the finish line while frantically searching for their partner. However, the Dutch team still managed to finish in a respectable third place and 20 seconds behind the eventual victors, leaving Van Aaert to slot into third place on the general classification.
Following on from Jumbo-Visma’s run, Deceuninck-Quickstep stormed their way from the start line in Llandeilo and it quickly became clear that the Belgian team would finish ahead of their Dutch counterparts, registering a seven second gap at the half-way stage, although the margin by the finish was just three seconds to move them into first place.
However, it wasn’t until Ineos Grenadiers, who were the penultimate team to race, that Deceuninck-Quickstep’s lead was challenged, with Israel Start-Up Nation also suffering a mechanical problem after Andre Greipel dropped out with saddle complications.
The British team were quick out the blocks, equalling Deceuninck-Quickstep’s checkpoint time in what was shaping up to an incredible finish as they headed into the last 8km. They had several slip ups before reaching the finish in the National Botanical Gardens however, with Owain Doull falling way behind as they reached the final climb, before Michal Kwiatkowski fell away further up.
After Robin Carpenter stole the headlines yesterday in stage two, it was the turn of Ethan Hayter to put his stamp on the team time trail. Donning the sky blue jersey, he dug his heels in and lead the final four of the Ineos Grenadiers, who all pushed hard on the final flat to claim an emphatic 17 second victory.
Carpenter’s Rally Cycling were the last to race, but the American would end up handing over the leader’s jersey after his team finished way off the pace by a minute and a half.
Wednesday sees the second of two stages in Wales, starting in Aberaeron and following a gruelling 210km (the longest of the tour) trek across Snowdonia National Park to finish on the West Coast in Llandudno. All the emphasis will be on the general classification riders, with one of the toughest climbs ever seen in the Tour of Britain set to be tackled. At 485m, Ffynnon Eidda is a 9.5km climb with a gradient 4.6%, most of the day will be spent thinking about how to approach the final climb before they reach the last 40km.