Stannard wraps up the Tour de Bretagne in style with stage seven winTue 1 May 2018
The 2018 Tour de Bretagne came to a close in north western France today, with a short and punchy stage that couldn’t have suited Mitchelton-BikeExchange any better with Robert Stannard taking an impressive victory after strong work from teammate Sam Jenner.
A challenging week for the UCI Continental team began with the unfortunate loss of Australian Harry Sweeny to sickness after the opening stage, reducing an already compact squad to four riders and not the end of the bad luck.
With the first three stages suiting the sprinters, the Chinese outfit were drowned out of contention early on in some hectic and stressful finals before suffering a further blow with the forced abandon of Callum Scotson.
The team rallied and when the sharper climbs came on stage four, Brayan Chaves, Stannard and Jenner came to life with Stannard, active in the late attacks and finishing fourth from an elite leading group.
Colombian climber Chaves impressed in his first European stage race, riding himself into the ground before also being struck down by illness on the penultimate stage with Jenner and Stannard now the last men standing and one day of racing remaining.
Stage seven – Stage victory:
After some wet and windy weather throughout the week, the sun broke out and shone on the seventh and final stage to the seaside town of Dinan and after a cagey start the break formed, with Jenner making the move at the right time and helping the drive forward.
The peloton upped the pace on the approach to the closing circuits, making the catch as the race hit Dinan. With Jenner’s job done it was time for Stannard to step up and the 19-year-old didn’t disappoint.
Attacking from the front over the closing kilometres and using his strength over the last climb, Stannard created a decent gap on the chasers that he held all the way to the line, simulatneously climbing inot the top ten overall.
“I’m really happy with my ride today as it has been the hardest seven days of racing I have ever done. After coming close with fourth on stage four it’s great to finally get the win.”
“I knew going into the tour that this stage would suit me and although I didn’t feel great at the start of the stage I saved myself well until the laps and by that stage my legs felt far better.
“With three laps to go I found myself at the front and by the top of the climb I knew that I would have the legs to attack the next lap. I managed to get a solid gap with one kilometre to go and held it to the line.”
“I was feeling good today and had an opportunity to jump across to the initial break and managed to take it. After the previous days where the break had stayed away I thought it could be the move and it had the right make up.
“We were brought back in the circuits and after being out front all day I didn’t have much left in the tank and then dropped out of the front group, but it worked out well in the end because Rob was part of the next attack and rode very strongly to get the stage win which is great for the team to end the tour on a high note.
“I’m showing good signs for the Baby Giro and have timed my form perfectly and it’s been a great experience here and opportunity to take some lessons out of this week and use it for the future.”
Tour de Bretagne stage seven results:
1. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) 03:19:51
2. Julien Antomarchi (Roubai-Lille-Metropole) +0:04
3. Fabian Schmidt (Cotes d’Armor-Marie Morin) ST
Tour de Bretagne final general classification:
1. Fabian Schmidt (Cotes d’Armor-Marie Morin) 26:54:08
2. Stan Dewulf (Lotto-Soudal-U23) +0:12
3. Julien Antomarchi (Roubai-Lille-Metropole) +0:43
9. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +1:39
Photos courtesy of the Tour de Bretagne.