Stage 7: Bury St Edmunds - Colchester
By Robert Lampard, Cyclingnews.com
Friday, September 17, 2010 6.30pm
Albasini remains race leader
Bozic betters his second place from stage 6, with the win today AFP/Getty Images
Another flat, fast stage in the East of England saw Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) go one place better than he did yesterday, when he was runner-up to Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia), and win the seventh stage of the Tour of Britain in a bunch finish in the town of Colchester.
The Slovenian, who rides for the revelation of this year's Tour of Britain, Vacansoleil, averaged 27.8mph for the 95-mile stage, which did nothing to change the overall leadership of Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia). However, Albasini's team did lose 21 seconds on the stage to his nearest rival, stage winner Bozic. Finishing in 20th place, Albasini lost 11 seconds to Bozic, who also gained the 10-second time bonus for winning the stage.
With a 52-mile criterium tomorrow around the docklands of London, the Swiss rider Albasini, who has held the yellow jersey since stage 3 in Swansea, when he won the rain soaked stage, is unlikely to loose the jersey he has held for four days.
Today, in comparison, the stage was held in glorious sunshine on the roads of Constable country on the stage from Bury St Edmunds to the ancient Roman town of Colchester. The formula for the day was pretty simple: two riders go away, the bunch doesn't really bother chasing because it realises the breakaway is forlorn, but starts chasing towards the end and reel them in.
The two riders in question were Tom Murray of Sigma Sport-Specialized and Pieter Jacobs of Topsport Vlaanderen. The two teams doing most of the chasing were, once again, Sky Professional Cycling Team and Team HTC-Columbia.
The pair went off the front after 21 miles of racing and built up a maximum lead over seven minutes. The British rider Murray was caught 15 miles before the finish while his day long breakaway companion, the Belgian Jacobs, carried on until just three miles before the line when the then-racing bunch swallowed him up.
With three third category climbs along the way which were little more than bumps for the Grand Tour riders, it was the finish to the climb that proved the most challenging. It was difficult for teams to organise a lead-out up the short, sharp ascent to the finish so it was a free-for-all that saw Bozic doing a two-up sprint with second place Greg Henderson (Team Sky) who finished on the same time. However, the third placed rider, Richie Porte (Team Saxo Bank) lead in the rest of the bunch three seconds behind.
King of the Mountains leader Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) doesn't need to wait until tomorrow to be crowned victor as there are no climbs on tomorrow's London circuit. The sprints jersey leader is Michael Golas, also of Vacansoleil. Henderson is still in the points leader's jersey.