Wout van Aert snatches overall victory with Aberdeen stage win
- Credit: SWPIX.COM
Wout Van Aert won a dramatic sprint finish to not only win the final stage of the Tour of Britain but claim the overall victory as well.
The Belgian superstar had the power to come around both Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel on the seafront in Aberdeen, and with Ethan Hayter getting boxed in, the bonus seconds gave him the overall win by six seconds from the Ineos Greandiers rider.
The peloton had earlier made hard work of chasing back a six-strong breakaway on the 173km stage from Stonehaven but finally reeled them in with four kilometres left.
Hayter, who had held a four-second lead overnight, was naturally disappointed but could still take the positives out of this race and the season as a whole, which includes a silver medal on the track at the Tokyo Olympics and his first major stage race success at the Tour of Norway.
He said: "It's a bit disappointing to lose it on the last day but I can be very happy with this week, the team time trial win and the stage in Manchester.
"To be second overall though between Van Aert and [world champion Julian] Alaphilippe is pretty good."
Oli Stockwell meanwhile concluded his breakthrough ride by finishing 31st on the final stage and climbing up to 34th in the general classification.
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The former Welwyn Wheeler and ex-Verulam School pupil had featured in the main break on the opening stage of the eight-day race and finished a hugely commendable 15th on the queen stage up to the finish at the Great Orme in Llandudno.
Standings - stage
1.Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) 4:07:56
2.Andre Greipel (Israel Start-up Nation) s.t.
3.Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck Quick-Step) s.t.
4.Colin Joyce (Rally) s.t.
5.Max Kanter (DSM) s.t.
31.Oli Stockwell (GB) s.t.
Final standings - GC
1.Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) 31:42:22
2.Ethan Hayer (Ineos Grenadiers) +0.06
3.Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck Quick-Step) +0.27
4.Mikkel Frolich Honore (Deceuninck Quick-Step) +0.41
5.Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation) +1.00
34.Oli Stockwell (GB) +10.28
A superb edition of the annual event and as usual, it provided the perfect preparation for the upcoming World Championship.
It may have even provided a clue as to the next owner of the rainbow jersey. Wout van Aert was simply imperious on every type of terrain and after learning from the Olympic road race, he will be better prepared to handle the unique tactics that happen in a one-off race over a long distance.
For Oli Stockwell though this couldn't have gone any better.
A late call-up he may have been but he produced some stunning rides and was regularly at the sharp end of the peloton.
If the World Tour teams and riders didn't know about him beforehand, they do now, and that could only prove beneficial for his future employment.
It'll do his confidence no harm either.
Stage two: Robin Carpenter takes win and overall lead
Stage three: Ineos Grenadiers in charge with team time trial win