Mark Cavendish (HTC-Higroad) book-ended the Tour of Britain, taking the first stage in Dumfries and the final stage today in London. Lars Boom, who has led the race since he won stage three in Stoke on Trent, finished safely in the sodden bunch to become the first rider from the Netherlands to win the Tour of Britain.
The stage was the second event of the final day and was in fact a criterium which covered the same 5.5 mile circuit around Whitehall and the Embankment that was used for the morning time trial earlier in the day. The peloton rode 10 laps of the circuit for a total distance of 55 miles. Unlike the time trial earlier in the day, which saw several changes in the general classification, the road stage didn’t effect the overall.
As usual a break went early in the stage which was allowed to stay away for most of the race before being reeled in by the peloton. The two escapees were Kristian House (Rapha Condor-Sharp) and Ronan McLaughlin (An Post-Sean Kelly) who went the moment the flag dropped but were caught on the final lap setting the stage for the customary sprint.
After his win Cavendish said,"I didn’t want to take too many risks today with the Worlds coming up. It was a wet finish and I saw [Ben] Swift lose his wheel on the second last corner so I backed off on the last corner and ended up 20 metres behind coming out the last corner. I thought it was too far back to get it but I went for it anyway and I came through on the line.
"It's been really good to come away with three stage wins this week, can’t get much better than that. Not only that we go three first (Mark Renshaw won stage 5) and second placings which is superb. Since 2007 and this year, to see how much the Tour has grown is amazing. It’s great to see all the support. It’s been perfect preparation for me for next week (the world championships in Copenhagen). I was able to control my training and I won two stages which was good."
Lars Boom celebrates
Overall winner Lars Boom (Rabobank) had not visited Britain before and seemed impressed. "It was awesome. London is a very nice city. It’s a lovely country, I didn’t expect that. The public was awesome, a lot of cheering so it was a great week for us. My most memorable moment was the first stage, the circuit, the small roads, the rain - it was awesome.
"I wanted to win this morning, I felt confident on the halfway so I lost a little bit. Our team was very good this week, I was confident with them behind me so there was no problem. It’s different riding with six guys in the team. You see that HTC – Highroad are a bit less strong than normally maybe. We had a really good team with the guys who were here and I was feeling confident everyday."
The final jersey podium held outside Horseguards Parade was rounded out by Pieter Ghyllebert (An Post-Sean Kelly) who won the sprints competition, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) who won the points competition and Jonathan Tiernan Locke (Rapha Condor-Sharp) who claimed the King of the Mountains competition.
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This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.