Team Etixx QuickStep and Team Sky are taking the Tour of Britain stages like they are the only teams in the Tour. Elia Viviani of Team Sky won the opening stage and the third stage of the Tour while Petr Vakoc won the second and Fernando Gaviria Rendon won stage 4 for Etixx QuickStep.
Gaviria had won two stages in the Tour de San Luis and two in the Czech Cycling Tour earlier this year. Of all the five victories Gaviria bagged this season, the Britain stage 4 was the biggest because here he competed the best of racers who are in their best form for the World Championship.
Team Sky looked like they were in a good position in the last two kilometers, with the rest of the team putting it out together for key rider Elia Viviani. However, in the last 1.5km of the stage, Team Lotto Soudal put it together to set up key rider, Greipel for the stage win. The Team’s efforts went in vain as Gaviria shot an unanswerable attack in the last 200 meters and flashed past Greipel and Hagen.
For Gaviria, it was not a personal achievement, rather, the success of sheer teamwork that got him in the top position. He said how Mark Cavendish let him go ahead and how the team supported him by watching his back and blocking other riders instead of trying to make way for themselves alone. Gaviria took the opportunity and did his bit by putting his best effort to take the victory. Cavendish himself finished 13th.
AS far as the general classifications are concerned, Juan Jose Lobato del Valle of Team Movistar took the lead and was followed closely behind by Hagen, who had a four points’ bonus and allowed Lobato only a 6 seconds lead. Floris Gerts of BMC Racing Team and Wouter Poels of Team Sky are at the 3rd and 4th positions in the general leads at a gap of 12 and 13 seconds from the leader, respectively. Team Etixx QuickStep has Matteo Trentin at the 9th place and Zdenek Stybar at the 13th.
Gaviria fetched the victory in the right time to make sure that his team is doing well enough despite the absence of Petr Vakoc, who won the second stage but crashed out in the third, crippling the team of one key rider. However, Cavendish, Trentin and Gaviria are reliable riders and a lot can be achieved if the team can coordinate well to put these riders in the front for the remaining stages.
Since Trentin was one of the riders to break the race, Etixx QuickStep did not have the burden of the chase. Four minutes into the stage, the teams, especially Lotto Soudal and Team Sky started making prompt attacks, thereby, nullifying the advantage the break squad had in the beginning. Trentin faded out to number 44 despite having been a part of the six-man break squad. The events turned out unexpectedly at Blythe with MTN Qhubeka keeping the team lead while Team Sky and Lotto Soudal followed.