Quick Step double in London

Quick Step's Nick Nuyens wrapped up overall victory in the Tour of Britain on the sun-drenched stree

Quick Step’s Nick Nuyens wrapped up overall victory in the Tour of Britain on the sun-drenched stree

PIC BY TIM DE WAELE Quick Step’s Luca Paolini completed a triumphant double for his Belgian team on Sunday as the Italian sprinted to victory in the final stage of the Tour of Britain. Minutes later, in the shadow of Big Ben and cheered to the echo by a final-day crowd of around 80,000, Paolini’s team-mate Nick Nuyens was crowned the race’s overall victor by a narrow margin of eight seconds over Team CSC’s Michael Blaudzun. Paolini’s victory in the 64km-Whitehall criterium yesterday could scarcely be considered a surprise after the Liquigas-bound rider’s second-place in the recent Hew Cyclassics Cup and his stage win in Sheffield on Thursday. Similarly, Nuyens, on paper one of the strongest riders in the field, had underlined his supremacy by beating renowned rouleur Blaudzun to win the 4km time-trial in Birmingham on Saturday. Nuyens was never threatened as Quick Step controlled the race from start to finish yesterday. The second Tour of Britain since the race was relaunched in a new time window and with new backers last year was generally well received. One of the most experienced riders in the race, CSC’s Kurt-Asle Arvesen, told procycling on Sunday that the Tour had been “much better organised than last year.” These comments were echoed by Quick Step directeur sportif Luca Guercilena, who nonetheless aired lingering concerns about safety and the danger of traffic leaking onto the course. London mayor Ken Livingston yesterday reaffirmed the capital’s intention to stage the start of the 2007 Tour de France. The size and enthusiasm of the crowd on the Whitehall circuit, said Livingston, were both a boost to London’s chances of hosting the Tdf grand dpart and to the city’s confidence following the July 7 terrorist attacks. “The turn-out at the race is bigger than last year and that is a sign that people are coming back to London,” said the mayor. Livingston went on the predict that two million people “from all over Europe” would flock to watch a Tour de France begin in London. Results 1 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic 64km in 1.30.54 2 Enrico Degano (Ita) Barloworld-Valsir 3 Roger Hammond (GBr) Great Britain 4 Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Insurance 5 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC 6 Siro Camponogara (Ita) Navigators Insurance 7 Takehiro Mizutani (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor 8 Paul Healion (Irl) DFL Driving Force Logistics 9 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick Step 10 Russel Downing (GBr) Recycling.co.uk/Litespeed Final standings 1 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick Step 19.04.32 2 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC 0.08 3 Javier Cherro Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 0.22 4 Phil Zajicek (USA) Navigators Insurance 0.33 5 Ben Day (Aus) Mr Bookmaker-Sports Tech 0.35 6 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques T-Interim 0.39 7 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 1.09 8 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet Colnago 1.20 9 Yanto Barker (GBr) DFL Driving Force Logistics 1.24 10 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Mr Bookmaker-Sports Tech 1.28