Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe moved into the OVO Energy Tour of Britain race lead with two stages remaining after finishing second behind Team Sky’s Wout Poels at Whinlatter on Friday afternoon.
The Quick-Step Floors rider, making his debut in the race, produced an aggressive display on the climb up to the Forestry Commission’s Visitor Centre in Cumbria to distance overnight leader Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and edge closer to the overall victory.
Dutchman Poels, who had earlier been distanced on the lower slopes of the climb after Alaphilippe’s team-mate Bob Jungels sacrificed his GC chances by kick-starting a flurry of attacks, has now the OVO Energy Tour of Britain’s last three hill-top finishes (Hartside Pass in 2015 and Haytor two years ago).
A four-man breakaway, including former world time trial champions Tony Martin (Team KATUSHA ALPECIN) and Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky), went clear shortly after and were only caught at the start of the second ascent of Whinlatter with 3.5 kilometres remaining.
British champion Connor Swift was also among the quartet (he claimed the day’s bonus MacRebur Prime in Broughton Moor) as British team Madison Genesis went on the offensive. His team-mate Matt Holmes, the current Eisberg Sprints competition leader, tried to dislodge Dlamini from the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey but was followed across the line at the first four summits by the South African.
Briton Hugh Carthy (Team EF Education First – Drapac) was among them and successive attacks from him and Alaphilippe resulted in Roglic being dramatically distanced.