We bring you our final report from the Tour
The final stage of the Tour of Britain needed to be a good one to make amends for the previous day which saw the bunch being sent the wrong way and the race being ridden at a tourist pace as a protest by the riders.
Fortunately, it was a very good stage with huge crowds enjoying the London sunshine and World Champion Tom Boonen giving them a demonstration in text book sprinting to take the honours.
In a brave move by the organisers, given yesterday’s chaos in the small town of Rochester, they stuck to the planned route which saw the peloton leave Greenwich and ride through the heart of London before heading north to Highgate and then back down for 20 laps of a 1.4 mile finishing circuit around St James’s Park. The flag was up at Buckingham Palace when the race passed by, so presumably the Queen was watching, and would no doubt have been cheering on Britain’s Roger Hammond, who pushed Boonen all the way in the sprint finish, but had to settle for second.
Boonen’s misgivings yesterday had clearly been forgotten today and he said of his win, “It’s been special, almost the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees. Yes, very special.”
The day’s stage did nothing to change the overall classification with the CSC rider Martin Pedersen holding onto his 51 second lead over Luis Pasamontes of Unibet and winning the first major stage race of his career.
The 23 year-old Danish rider was clearly chuffed with his win saying, “Today was the best day ever on a bike for me. This is the first time I’ve been to London and it was a great introduction.” He went on to say, “There were so many spectators all along the route, which made the atmosphere great.” None of the other jerseys changed either with T-Mobile’s new British signing, Mark Cavendish, keeping the green jersey of the Points Competition. The King of the Mountain’s competition was won by Andy Schleck of CSC while Johan Vansummeren of Davitamon Lotto went home with the T-Mobile Sprints jersey. Britain’s best finisher was Russell Downing in ninth place.
On a day that saw the biggest crowds ever for a bike race in London there was, unfortunately, an incident which took some of the shine off an otherwise excellent event. As race vehicles entered the circuit ahead of the race there was a collision between a police motorcyclist and a marshal motorcyclist. A statement from the organisation said: “It’s believed that four spectators and the marshal motorcyclist were injured. Two have been discharged already and the other injuries aren’t believed to be serious.”
1 Tom Boonen – QuickStep-Innergetic 2h00’41”
2 Roger Hammond – Great Britain same time
3 Mark Cavendish – T-Mobile same time
4 Iljo Keisse – Chocolade Jacques-Topsport same time
5 Leon Van Bon – Davitamon Lotto same time
Final General Classification
1 Martin Pedersen – CSC 21h51’24”
2 Luis Pasamontes – Unibet.com @ 51″
3 Filippo Pozzato – QuickStep-Innergetic @ 02’11”
4 Nick Nuyens – QuickStep-Innergetic @ 02’46”
5 Michael Rogers – T-Mobile @ 02’46”
6 Iljo Keisse – Chocolade Jacques-Topsport @ 03’06”
7 Johann Tschopp – Phonak iShares @ 03’07”
8 Andy Schleck – CSC @ 03’14”
9 Russell Downing – DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed @ 03’16”
10 Maarten Tjallingii – Skil-Shimano @ 03’18”