Yves Lampaert gave Deceuninck-Quickstep his first 2021 Tour of Britain stage victory, beating Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Matt Gibson (Ribble-Weldtide) in today’s successful breakaway in Edinburgh.
Race leader Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and runner-up Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) finished in the peloton two minutes from the leading group to maintain the same lead in the general classification.
The runners faced another long stage after Friday’s marathon, with a bumpy 195.7km route north from Hawick to Edinburgh. It was no surprise that it was a breakaway day, and four riders broke away in the opening kilometers, with the top-placed rider more than five minutes ahead of Hayter.
Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-Quickstep), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Matt Gibson (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) and Christopher Blevins (Trinity Racing) caught up and gained five generous minutes while being chased by Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quickstep), Joel Nicolau (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).
Jorgenson and Lampaert made it through without Nicolau, and by the time the six-man breakout made the first climb at Berrybush, they had opened up a 7:25 lead over the blue jersey group, with Jorgenson the virtual leader on the road.
The American won the most points in the intermediate sprint at Innerleithen after 47.8 km of the race, and when Lampaert took the points in the next sprint at Duns after 125 km, they had eight minutes left.
The gap started to drop below the five-minute mark in the final 50 kilometers, knocking Jorgenson out of a virtual lead as Alpecin-Fenix and Israel Start-Up Nation came out on top to help close the gap . Blevins, who was part of the breakaway earlier this week, lost contact with the squad on an unranked climb 20km from the finish, leaving five ahead.
At 10 km from the finish, the breakaway seemed ready to fight for the stage victory with three minutes and to change peloton towards Edinburgh. An enthusiastic young cyclist raced the breakaway up a hill 10 km from the finish and received a gift from Eenkhoorn in the form of a canister.
In the last 10 kilometers, the cat-and-mouse games began, with the two Quickstep runners unsuccessfully trying to shake up their rivals. Lampaert leapt up and was tracked down by Jorgenson, forcing Eenkhoorn to lead the hunt. The Movistar rider was more than happy to work with the Belgian, boosting his chances in a two-man sprint. The pair widened a six-second gap with 6 km to go as Lampaert, looking behind the pursuers, touched down with Jorgenson and nearly crashed.
Gibson, seeing the brief slowdown ahead, attacked to cross with 5.5 miles to go and managed to catch up, leaving Eenkhoorn at odds with Ballerini’s reluctance to continue.
Now with three in the lead, Lampaert refused to shoot to help Ballerini come back but Gibson and Jorgenson kept the pace.
Gibson attacked with 2 miles to go as the trio held onto the two chasers for 16 seconds but Lampaert chased him down. Jorgenson tried to surprise them with an attack around a traffic island, but runner Deceuninck-Quickstep stopped him.
Meanwhile, in the peloton, Ineos helped close the gap to just over two minutes.
Gibson led the trio into the last mile as Jorgenson waited his moment to leap from the back. They had enough lead to play a tactical game. Gibson attacked first but was quickly overtaken by Lampaert who had enough power to hold back Jorgenson and secure the stage victory for Deceuninck-Quickstep.