Borut Bozic, the Slovenian Vacansoleil rider, won stage seven of the Tour of Britain in a tough uphill sprint into Colchester today ahead of the Antipodean duo of Greg Henderson (Team Sky) and Richie Porte (Saxo Bank).
Bozic’s last win was back in February and he was clearly delighted with his victory, which strengthened his second place overall.
“After the last corner I was a little bit surprised at seeing the steepness of the hill and when Greg [Henderson] started sprinting I knew I could beat him, so I just waited until the last 150 metres and then I went,” he said.
With two stage wins, Johnny Hoogerland set be crowned King of the Mountains in London tomorrow and Michael Golas leading the Sprints competition by a healthy margin, the Dutch Vaconsoleil team can be happy with their achievements this week.
Large crowds, aggressive riding, sunny weather and Team Sky again trying to control the race in an attempt to get Henderson on the overall podium were the features of the penultimate stage, which started in the Suffolk market town of Bury St Edmunds.
After a flurry of attacks in a wind assisted first hour, a break of two riders – Tom Murray (Sigma Sport – Specialized) and Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen) – escaped from the peleton.
The pair built up a maximum lead of around three minutes as the race weaved its way around Suffolk’s pretty wool towns and villages and into Essex.
Eventually Murray was dropped and within the last ten kilometres Jacobs succumbed to the inevitable as the might of Team Sky and HTC – Columbia chased him down along the flat roads towards the finish.
Clearly, the teams had not anticipated the severity of the finish climb, which led to some notable time gaps.
Henderson explained, “We got it perfect with the lead out but it’s a hill! Renshaw had a go but he went from a long way out and really died at 300 metres to go; I had to go then but it proved to be too early.”
Tomorrow’s circuit-race in London should see Michael Albasini (HTC – Columbia) take the overall honours but the fight for the other podium placings on general classification is set to go down to the wire.
Tour of Britain 2010, stage 7: Bury St Edmunds to Colchester, 151km
1. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil
2. Greg Henderson (NZ) Team Sky at same time
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank at 3 secs
4. Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) ISD-Neri at same time
5. Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano at same time
6. Jonathan McEvoy (GB) Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta at same time
7. Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen at same time
8. Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing at 6 seconds
9. Jack Bauer (NZ) Endura Racing at same time
10. Zak Dempster (Aus) Rapha-Condor-Sharp at same time
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Columbia
2. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil at 1-05
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank at 1-14
4. Greg Henderson (NZ) Team Sky at 1-16
5. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil at 1-32
6. Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) ISD-Neri Giambenini at 2-12
7. Christian Meier (Can) Garmin-Transitions at 2-30
8. Rob Partridge (GB) Endura at 2-32
9. Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano at 2-35
10. Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox at 3-31
King of the mountains: Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil)
Prostate Cancer Charity points competition: Greg Henderson (Team Sky)
Sprints competition: Michal Golas (Vacansoleil)
Tom Murray and Pieter Jacobs during the day’s big escape
Stage seven scenery
Bozic and Henderson sprint for the stage win
Michael Albasini keeps the race lead and now looks likely to win overall
Tour of Britain 2010: Related links
Tour of Britain 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Tour of Britain 2010: stage reports
Stage six: Greipel strikes again in Tour of Britain
Stage five: Frapporti wins, Wiggins second
Stage four: Poels wins in Teignmouth
Stage three: Albasini wins in Swansea
Stage two: Henderson in yellow as Team Sky take charge
Stage one: Greipel takes opener
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Stage six gallery by Andy Jones
Stage five gallery by Andy Jones
Stage four gallery by Andy Jones
Stage three gallery by Andy Jones
Stage two gallery by Andy Jones
Stage one gallery by Andy Jones