Another top ten for Mezgec at the Tour of BritainThu 8 Sep 2016
Slovenian Luka Mezgec sprinted into the top ten for a consecutive day on today’s stage four of the Tour of Britain.
The longest stage of the tour, at 217kilometres, saw the peloton cover over 4000metres of climbing which resulted in a reduced bunch at the finish line in Builth Wells, Wales.
Mezgec fought hard to stay in contention with the leading bunch after a furious pace was set over the undulating terrain in the final 50kilometres of the race.
In what was a fast, technical finish, Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-Nl-Jumbo) came out on top to claim the stage victory with Mezgec caught a few places back having to settle for seventh place.
Sport director Matt Wilson was pleased with Mezgec’s performance, fighting to be there in the final and positioning himself well for the sprint.
“Today was a long day and pretty solid for the guys,” explained Wilson. “Michael Hepburn did a bit of work early on in the stage and then the other guys were waiting with Caleb Ewan over the climbs to see if they could bring him back to the front for the final.”
“Luka was by himself in the end at the front and he did a really good job. To try and do that job alone in the peloton is atough ask, so he did very well to be there and still finish in seventh place on such a techincal finish.
"The day didn't come off according to plan, it was a really, really hard day in the end and we will look forward to another sprint tomorrow hopefully."
How it happened:
The longest stage of the eight-day tour began and finished in Wales with again a lot of up and down rolling roads to contend with.
Unlike the previous three stages, the breakaway took longer to establish. Many riders attacked however no one was able to break free in the first part of the stage.
Eventually after the first king of the mountain sprint a group of four riders made a strong attack off the front of the peloton and rode out to a maximum advantage of five minutes.
The leaders were swallowed up with 35kilometres remaining after powerful attacks from the peloton kept the pace high and drew them back in.
With more short but steep climbs to follow, the peloton remained strung out in one line with a high pace being set followed by various riders attacking over the top of challenging rises.
The continuous attacking on the punchy climbs depleted the peloton with a small group, including the key general classification riders, at the fore.
With 30kilometres to go all attempts were neutralised and the peloton swelled to around 60 riders. However, this blistering pace during the final 50kilometres left many tired legs in the group with many of the big named sprinters dropped.
Mezgec, the solo rider represented for ORICA-BikeExchange in the front group coming into the final, positioned himself in the last kilometres to conclude the day with a well fought seventh place.
Tour of Britain stage four results:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-NL-Jumbo) 5:28:49
2. Dan McLay (Team GB) ST
3. Ben Swift (Team Sky) ST
7. Luka Mezgec (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST
General classification after stage four:
1. Julien Vermote (Etixx-Quickstep) 18:22:04
2. Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) +0:06
3. Ben Swift (Team Sky) +1:03
82. Amets Txurruka (ORICA-BikeExchange) 11:54