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LONDON, Sept 12, 2014 – Austria’s Matthias Brandle clinched his second consecutive stage victory in the Tour of Britain on Friday, but Movistar’s Alex Dowsett is the new overall leader.
Dowsett had started stage six one minute and 25 seconds behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski in the overall standings, yet he ended the day’s racing in possession of the yellow jersey thanks to a powerful finish.
The 25-year-old Englishman put himself in the breakout, along with IAM Cycling’s Brandle and Tom Stewart of Madison Genesis, and was able to change the shape of the Tour from that position.
Capitalising on the time trialling skills of both Brandle and Dowsett, they built a lead of more than nine minutes on the road, and the peloton rarely looked capable of bringing it back despite some frantic efforts from Omega Pharma-Quick Step in the closing stages of the 205.6km run from Bath to Hemel Hempstead.
“It was the hardest day of my life,” Dowsett said.
“I just thought they were letting us out to bring us back and I was a bit hacked off with myself because I thought I could have a good time trial but I was leaving a lot out on the road and I might have given too much.
“Once the gap went up to seven minutes I thought, that’s quite big, then it was eight, nine, and I really started digging in.
“I spoke to Matthias and we made an agreement he would go for the stage because I knew there was a good chance I would take yellow and it was a risk I was willing to take.”
Dowsett now leads Kwiatkowski by 34 seconds, with the Italian Eduardo Zardini of Bardiani 40 seconds behind in third and Tinkoff-Saxo’s Nicholas Roche 50 seconds back in fourth.
1. Matthias Brandle (AUT/IAM Cycling) 4hr 44min 49sec
2. Alex Dowsett (GBR/Movistar) at 1sec
3. Thomas Stewart (GBR/Madison Genesis) same time
4. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/Bardiani-CSF) at 1min 51sec
5. Nicola Ruffoni (ITA/Bardiani-CSF) s.t.
1. Alex Dowsett (GBR/Movistar) 25hr 7min 53sec
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) at 34sec
3. Edoardo Zardini (ITA/Bardiani-CSF) at 40sec
4. Nicolas Roche (IRL/Tinkoff-Saxo) at 50sec
5. Dylan Teuns (BEL/BMC Racing) at 51sec