Stage 4 sends the riders along the backbone of Wales, taking on a very lumpy route on their way to the finish line in Builth Wells. Seeming to lack the true mountains found in the Snowdonia National Park, this route looks like it will result in another bunch sprint finish. The GC by this stage will still be heavily dominated by the races top sprinters, maybe the likes of Cavendish holding the golden jersey on his shoulders.
Stage favourites: Elia Viviani, Andre Griepel, Mark Cavendish, Giacomo Nizzolo, Caleb Ewan.
Stage 5: Aberdare to Bath
Stage favourites: Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan, Elia Viviani, Tony Gallopin, Ian Stannard.
Stage 6: Sidmouth to Haytor, Dartmoor
The first and only summit finish in this year’s race, the real fight for the GC should begin here. This is the same summit finish where Simon Yates took victory back in the 2013 edition. A tough climb, 6km long at an average of 6%, it also has some steep ramps where some riders could see the gold leader’s jersey slip through their fingers. A very exposed final few kilometers, wind could prove to be a big factor in deciding the winner of this stage, stronger men faring better in this type of finish rather than the purer climbers.
Stage favourites: Tom Domoulin, Wout Poels, Stephen Cummings, Daniel Martin, Owain Doull.
Stage 7: Bristol (Circuit)
Stage 7 is quite unique in the fact that it is a split stage, a 15km time trial in the morning, followed up by a 75km road race using the same circuit in the afternoon. The finish line will be atop Clifton Down, creating a classics style race route. A short climb up to Clifton Down in the closing kilometers will take the sprinters out of contention, it will be the turn of the opportunistic classic riders to battle it out for the stage.
Stage favourites: Tony Gallopin, Tony Martin, Stephen Cummings, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift.
Stage 8: London (Circuit)
The final stage of this year’s Tour of Britain has bunch sprint written all over it. The riders will complete 14 laps of a 6.2km circuit before sprinting to the finish line. Viviani won here last year after Griepel was disqualified for improper sprinting, with so much at stake on this final stage we could see another messy sprint. This stage shouldn’t see any change across the GC so the rider that crosses the line here wearing gold will be crowned the winner of the 2016 edition of the Tour of Britain.
Stage favourites: Mark Cavendish, Andre Griepel, Elia Viviani, Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen.
With such a sprinting dominated route, there are only a few stages for those targeting the GC to focus on. The two stages which should prove most pivotal are stage 6, the summit finish to Haytor, and stage 7’s 15km time trial. Up until stage 6 it will likely be a sprinter holding the golden leader’s jersey, the climb up to Haytor should produce a major GC reshuffle, highlighting the riders going for overall glory. The likely winner up Haytor will be the strongest climber, however this isn’t to say that this will wrap the race lead up for them; they will still have to demonstrate resilient riding through the following days time trial and to the finish line in London.
Riders that lose a few precious seconds up the climb to Haytor won’t be totally out of contention, the 15km time trial will give them a chance to claw back and possibly surpass the time of the leading rider. Due to this, the main favourites for this year’s Tour of Britain are made up of pure climbers, strong time trialists that can climb well, and opportunistic stage hunters that could gain an uncatchable amount of time from an unexpected stage win.
Here is an in-depth review of those favourite for claiming the golden leader’s jersey come the 11th September:
Tom Domoulin comes into this race as the clear favourite, winner of a mountain stage from a daring solo escape, and a dominating win in the individual time tria,l both in this year’s Tour De France; he has already demonstrated this summer, the exact attributes needed to win this edition of the Tour of Britain. Adding to this his recent silver medal in the Men’s road time trial at the Rio Olympics, he is certainly the strongest rider on the start line for this race. With a strong and predominantly Dutch team around the rider hailing from the Netherlands, he will have excellent support for his GC ambitions. Its hard to imagine Domoulin not taking the title this year, he can be found at 11/4 with Sky Bet for the overall win.
A rider with very similar abilities to Domoulin, Dennis is an extremely strong time trialist, winner of the 2015 Tour De France prologue, a very similar route to stage 7’s individual time trial. Dennis is also a very capable climber, he will more than likely be able to cope with the pace up the climb to Haytor. It will be stage 7’s time trial where he will be looking to take most time, becoming a real prologue specialist, he even has the potential to beat Domoulin on this stage. If he can gain just a few seconds over Domoulin here then he will surely wrap up the overall win. A serious contender he can be found at 11/2 with Betfred to win the overall.
Poels fits the bill as one of the strongest climbers in this year’s line up, so is therefore considered one of the main favourites for the overall win. In contrast to Dennis and Domoulin, Poels will be solely looking at stage 6 and the summit finish on Haytor. Winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege this year and 2nd place in last year’s edition of the Tour of Britain, he has demonstrated that he is one of the strongest and punchiest climbers currently in the pro peloton. After playing second fiddle and super domestique to Chris Froome in this summer’s Tour De France, Poels will be repayed as team leader for this race, surrounded by a strong team that includes Brits Ben Swift and Ian Stannard. If Poels manages to take a healthy lead over the other favourites on stage 6, then he may just be able to hang on through the following day’s time trial and claim the overall win. Poels can be found at 3/1 with Paddy Power for the overall win.
Olympic revelation Doull, takes the start line riding for Team Wiggins, under the watchful and protective eyes of team owner and best mate, Sir Bradley Wiggins. Doull isn’t quite the strongest climber, nor the strongest time trialist, but he does have a very dynamic style of riding, winning a variety of different races throughout his career. Third place overall and winner of the points competition in the 2015 edition of this race, Doull is no stranger to success on home roads. Along with the fully British squad of Team Wiggins, he will be motivated to do well in front of a home crowd. If Doull can use his tactical brain and time an attack correctly, then he could take a handful of seconds that may prove vital come stage 7’s time trial. A strong Olympic pursuiter, the 15km course should also relatively suit him, if he’s on an extremely good day then he could even challenge Domoulin or Dennis for the time trial win. Doull is one of the main British hopefuls for this race and can be found at a massive 100/1 with Paddy Powerfor the overall win, definitely worth a bet considering his current form off the back of a successful Olympics.
Outsiders for the overall win
Currently in his strongest season to date, Cummings is a real dark horse for the overall win in this race. A prolific escape artist, he has carved a name for himself within the peloton. He will likely be marked in this race given his dangerous abilities, but if he can use his tactical brain to slip away, then he can definitely gain some much needed seconds in his quest for overall glory. Cummings can be found at7/2 with Paddy Power for the win.
Gallopin is an extremely clever and cunning rider, strong in one day classics and stage races, he consistently defies belief as he demonstrates his amazing all round ability. On his day he can climb with some of the best in the pro peloton, if he can snatch a stage win before the race hits the summit finish of Haytor, then he could build on his lead even further, strengthening his advantage into stage 7’s time trial. Gallopin can be found at 25/1 with Paddy Power for the overall win.
Just like Poels, Martin comes to this race as one of the strongest climbers, the summit finish on stage 6 suiting him down to a tee. If Martin can create a large enough gap on this summit finish then this will put him into a strong position to take the overall win. Not the strongest of time trialists, stage 7 could prove cruel in his ambitions for overall glory. A dark horse for the win, Martin can be found at 25/1 with Betfred.
With the riders on the start line of this year’s Tour of Britain, coupled with an exciting and dynamic route; we should certainly be in for an exciting week of racing. One of the few races on British soil this is a great opportunity to go and watch, at least one stage being close to all areas of the UK. Not to mention its also completely free, this is the perfect day out for those seeking thrilling and exciting racing.
This year’s edition of the race also serves as a pseudo ‘victory lap’ for the nations favourite knight, Sir Bradley Wiggins. This will be his final ever road race, a race on home soil to cap of a career which has seen him win titles all across Europe on various different levels. The Tour of Britain begins on the 4th September and ends on the 11th September with the final stage in London. Sit back, relax, and tune into ITV4 daily to get your fix of some proper ‘British cycle racing.’