Wout van Aert soars like an angel after a dramatic day on the Tour of Britain

Wout van Aert (right) beats Julian Alaphilippe (left) and Ethan Hayter (centre) in Gateshead.

Wout van Aert (right) beats Julian Alaphilippe (left) and Ethan Hayter (centre) under the gaze of the Angel of the North in Gateshead. - Credit: SWPIX.COM

Wout van Aert landed another big shot in the race for the Tour of Britain win after a heavyweight battle on the road to Gateshead.

The Belgian national champion beat race leader Ethan Hayter and world champ Julian Alaphilippe in the shadow of the Angel of the North as the main favourites duked it out in a select group.

Wout van Aert (right) beats Julian Alaphilippe (left) and Ethan Hayter (second right) on stage six of the Tour of Britain.

Wout van Aert (right) beats Julian Alaphilippe (left) and Ethan Hayter (second right) on stage six of the 2021 Tour of Britain. - Credit: SWPIX.COM

The action-packed day had come to a head a little over 10km to the finish as the day's break, containing Mark Cavendish, was swept up on the uncategorised ramp of Busty Bank.

Mark Cavendish leads the breakaway to the top of the Hartside Pass on stage six of the 2021 Tour of Britain.

Mark Cavendish leads the breakaway to the top of the Hartside Pass on stage six of the 2021 Tour of Britain. - Credit: SWPIX.COM

It split the main group to pieces and left the main favourites, including all of the top five on the general classification, alone in front.

Julian Alaphilippe leads the select front group in the final stages of stage six of the 2021 Tour of Britain.

Julian Alaphilippe leads the select front group in the final stages of stage six of the 2021 Tour of Britain. - Credit: SWPIX.COM

Michael Woods had the best attempt to solo into the finish but he was caught with 4km to go and after the drag up to the line, Van Aert eased ahead of Ethan Hayter.

Almost as important as the win though was the bonus seconds which sees him close the gap to just four seconds overall.

Oli Stockwell drifted away as the final drama was played out but still did enough to consolidate his position in the top 40 on GC as he crossed the line more than four minutes behind.



Standings - stage

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1.Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) 4:35:56

2.Ethan Hayer (Ineos Grenadiers) s.t.

3.Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck Quick-Step) s.t.

4.Gonzalo Serrano (Movistar) s.t.

5.James Shaw (Ribble Weldtite) s.t.

41.Oli Stockwell (GB) +4.17


Standings - GC

1.Ethan Hayer (Ineos Grenadiers) 22:53:32

2.Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) +0.04

3.Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck Quick-Step) +0.21

4.Mikkel Frolich Honore (Deceuninck Quick-Step) +0.35

5.Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation) +0.54

35.Oli Stockwell (GB) +10.22


Next - stage seven

Into Scotland for the final act and the first half of the drama the peloton heads over 194.8km from Hawick to Edinburgh. 

The profile for stage seven of the 2021 Tour of Britain.

The profile for stage seven of the 2021 Tour of Britain. - Credit: TOUR OF BRITAIN

Prediction

The climbs all come in the first half but because this is the penultimate stage, and as the time gaps in GC are so small, this seems set for another sprint.

Ineos Grenadiers will want to make sure any group stays away, as long as the escapees are no threat for the overall. Jumbo-Visma are the ones who have to bring it altogether for the final dash to the line. They shouldn't get too much help so it creates an excellent dynamic.

Stage six began with a huge scrap to get in the break. Oli Stockwell of GB was among those trying in the initial stages and I think the British boys will look to get there again.


Recap

Stage one: Oli Stockwell stars as Wout van Aert takes opening win

Stage two: Robin Carpenter takes win and overall lead

Stage three: Ineos Grenadiers in charge with team time trial win

Stage four: Oli Stockwell mixes it with the best as van Aert beats Alaphilippe

Stage five: Late crash hampers Van Aert as Hayter extends lead

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