TOUR OF BRITAIN STAGE 5: CHICCHI WINS IN CANTERBURY AFTER RIDER PROTEST DIVIDES BUNCH
Italy’s Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step) won the sprint to Canterbury but the fifth stage of the Tour of Britain was delayed by more than an hour after a rider protest that divided the bunch.
ProTour teams Quick Step and T-Mobile lead the go-slow after the race got lost during the 6.6 mile neutralised section. The race was forced to stop for 15 minutes while the race organisers workout how to get on the right roads. The big teams then began a go-slow to protest about the poor organisation and dangerous roads.
“We support the Tour of Britain but we wanted to send a message to the race organisers that things have been dangerous all week and they have to improve,” Quick Step directeur sportif Wilfred Peeters said.
Quick Step and Barloworld riders wanted to abandon the race but a CSC team manager persuaded the bunch to start racing. The bunch rolled around the Kent countryside at a slow pace and then began racing in the last 20 miles.
The protest split the peloton. The British teams wanted to race but the big name teams and riders forced them to stop by chasing them down and shouting at them.
Roger Hammond was angry that the big ProTour teams threaten the future of the Tour of Britain with their attitude.
“If they want to send a signal to the race organisers okay, but why neutralise the race for everybody else?” he asked angrily.
“For the British based teams this our race and we only have six days here. To lose a day of it is a big thing for us. If we mess around like this, our sponsor just won’t sponsor our race. I’m thinking of British Cycling whereas Tom (Boonen) is just thinking it’s a bad race. Foreign riders probably don’t care if there’s a Tour of Britain but we do.”
Chicchi beat Britain’s Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) and Aart Vierhouten (Skil) in the sprint. Denmark’s Martin Pedersen (CSC) finished in the bunch and so retained his 51-second lead on Luis Pasamontes (Unibet.com)
The Tour of Britain ends in central London on Sunday with a 51-mile stage with 20 laps around the Hyde Park and the finish in the Mall.
STAGE 5: ROCHESTER-CANTERBURY
1, Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step-Innergetic) in 4-24-42
2, Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile)
3, Aart Vierhouten (Skil-Shimano)
4, James Vanlandschoot (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago)
5, Russell Downing (DFL-Cycling News)
6, Laurens Ten Dam (Unibet.com)
7, Jonas Ljungblad (Unibet.com)
8, Brett Lancaster (Ceramica Panaria)
9, Maarten Tjallingii (Skil-Shimano)
10, Iljo Keisse (Chocolade Jacques) all same time
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 5
1, Martin Pederson (CSC) in 19-50-43
2, Luis Pasamontes (Unibet.com) at 0-51
3, Filippo Pozzato (Quick Step-Innergetic) at 2-11
4, Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) at 2-46
5, Nick Nuyens (Quick Step-Innergetic) at 2-47
6, Johann Tschopp (Phonak) at 3-07
7, Iljo Keisse (Chocolade Jacques) at 3-12
8, Andy Schleck (CSC) at 3-14
9, Russell Downing (DFL-Cycling News) at 3-16
10, Maarten Tjallingii (Skil-Shimano) at 3-19