Monday September 6 – Sherford to Exeter, 184km
Ethan Hayter has moved up to third overall after two stages of the Tour of Britain. The British rider, who is in good form having claimed silver in the Madison at the recent Olympics before following that up with victory at the Tour of Norway, claimed second place on a stunning second stage from Sherford to Exeter on Monday, which took in parts of the South Hams and Dartmoor National Park.
Robin Carpenter of Rally Cycling was the surprise winner of the Devon stage of the race. Carpenter was the last survivor from the day’s five-man breakaway, holding off the fast-closing peloton to become the first American ever to win a stage of the Tour of Britain.
Carpenter dropped breakaway companion Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod) with 25km remaining to take the victory by 33 seconds over British duo Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Alex Peters (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling).
The 29 year-old Philadelphian now leads the general classification by 22 seconds from stage one winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), with Hayter a further four seconds back heading into Tuesday’s team time trial in Carmarthenshire. “I was falling apart at the end but I made sure to be falling apart by myself,” Carpenter explained. “In the end leading the overall is great and it’s a big bonus but we’ll see about making it through the team time trial tomorrow with my team-mates.”
Jumbo-Visma will also be anxious to see how they fare in the team time trial. Eyebrows were raised when the Dutch team failed to chase down the breakaway and keep Van Aert in the leader’s jersey. They later explained that having lost Australian Chris Harper to a crash in the opening kilometres they were unable and unwilling to do all the work on their own, especially with Van Aert prioritising the world road championships in Flanders later this month.
“Everyone was looking at us and we couldn’t and didn’t want to do it alone,” explained sports director Frans Maassen. “That’s racing. Wout has to leave this race with a good feeling and he made a good start.
“A good team time trial is crucial for a good classification,” Maassen added. “So it is even more disappointing that Chris is no longer riding. Tomorrow we really wanted to show ourselves. The changes we had to make earlier were already not in our favour. We’ll have to see how far we get with five motivated riders in the team.”
Sunday September 5 – Penzance to Bodmin, 180.8km
Wout van Aert sprinted to victory on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain on Sunday.
Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), one of the big favourites for a race being held for the first time since 2019, timed his jump to perfection in Bodmin to win the final uphill battle, with Ethan Hayter the best-placed British rider in fourth.
The Belgian had sat on the wheel of the world champion Julian Alaphilippe – whose Deceuninck-Quick Step team, which includes Mark Cavendish, had done the lion’s share of the work in bringing back the day’s break – before attacking his rival with a few hundred metres to go, holding off the challenge of Nils Eekhoff (DSM), Gonzalo Serrano (Movistar) and Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers). Alaphilippe, who won the race in 2018, finished in a group two seconds behind.
The pair are likely to battle it out for the general classification this week, although both are using the race as preparation for the road world championships in Flanders later this month. Van Aert suggested he would see the lie of the land midway through the race before deciding whether to go all in for the overall. “It’s a really important race and a nice race to do, but on the other hand, I’m here to try and race into the best legs possible going into the worlds,” he said. “We’ll see after stage four what’s possible.”
Monday’s stage is a tough one from Sherford to Exeter, taking in Devon’s South Hams and the Dartmoor National Park. There is then a team time trial in Carmarthenshire before the queen stage of the race, which finishes in Llandudno.
“The team time-trial is important given the reputation the team [Jumbo-Visma] has in time trials,” Van Aert said. “On stage four we have the queen stage, so I’m definitely focusing on that one, and then afterwards we’ll see where my position is in the GC [general classification].”
Hayter, who took silver in the Madison at the Olympics, said he was pleased with fourth after coming down in an early pile-up.
“I was a little bashed up,” he confessed, crediting his team-mates with delivering him to the foot of the final uphill sprint.
“I followed Alaphilippe and when he slowed, I hesitated because I didn’t think I had the legs to go from there, and I got jumped. But hopefully that opens me up for the rest of the week.”