Mezgec seventh on the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain

Sat 10 Sep 2016

The penultimate day of the Tour of Britain was split in two with a morning 14.2kilometre individual time trial followed by a short, fast 90kilometre circuit race in the afternoon.

In the morning all ORICA-BikeExchange riders completed the event safety, but with the real focus on the potential sprint stage to follow, the team used the race as recovery and preparation for their real chance in the afternoon. 

Alex Edmondson finished the highest for ORICA-BikeExchange in the timed event in 36th spot. Then in the afternoon, Luka Mezgec sprinted into seventh place after a late attack by Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) denied the peloton of much wanted sprint finish taking the stage victory for BMC.

“The race today was a bit disappointing for us,” explained sport director Matt Wilson. "We tried to control the race and we weren’t quite sure whether it would be a bunch sprint or not. We knew we would be on the limit over the final climb.”

“It actually wasn’t that hard for Caleb Ewan, he had good legs and he just tried to go with Dennis when he attacked, just missed it then that really finished him off. Dennis was super strong in the final today.

“Overall it was a really good team ride, everything went well and Rob Power did an amazing job. He had a puncture half-way through but got straight back in to the race and straight back to the front again to chase. 

“Michael Hepburn had to have a bike change which effected his day today but overall really good effort from everybody. Tomorrow is another circuit race and I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t a bunch sprint."

How it happened:

In the morning’s individual time trial, the riders raced around a 15kilometre circuit which included a tricky 600metre climb at a nine percent gradient which was also used later on for stage 7b circuit race.

The road stage just a couple of hours later was 90kilometre split into six laps and was raced like all previous stages with a breakaway of four riders escaping inside the initial kilometres. 

The quadruple rode out to a one minute twenty second advantage as ORICA-BikeExchange and Team Sky set the temp at the front working to keep the escapees at a comfortable distance before reeling them back in ahead of the finish. 

Power contributed to much of work done for the majority of the stage alongside the other sprint teams as the time decreased significantly once they entered the final lap.   

Eventually the four leaders finally caught with five kilometres to go. ORICA-BikeExchange immediately headed to the front keeping Ewan in a good position over the final climb ahead of the finish. 

However, the stage didn’t go as planned with Dennis deciding to launch an attack as he crested the top of the final climb with just one and a half kilometres to go to deny the peloton the chance of a bunch sprint.

Mezgec was able to hold on to the front group over the top as they barrelled down the decent on the run into the finish slowly closing in on Dennis.

Finally Mezgec sprinted into a respectable seventh place for the team with one more potential sprint stage tomorrow as the riders tackle a 100kilometre circuit race round the centre of London. 

Tour of Britain stage 7a TT results:

1. Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) 18:06

2. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) +0:03

3. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) +0:05

36. Alex Edmondson (ORICA-BikeExchange) +1:26

Stage 7b road stage results:

1. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) 2:58:42

2. Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx-Quickstep)  +0:06

3. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto-NL Jumbo)  ST

7. Luka Mezgec (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST

General classification after stage 7:

1. Stephen Cummings (Dimension-Data) 29:21:21

2. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) +0:26

3. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) +0:38

40. Amets Txurruka (ORICA-BikeExchange) +19:31