THE 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain has been completed with Julian Alaphilippe of France being crowned the winner in London on Sunday (Sep 9) a week after the race had started at Pembrey Country Park.
The race saw some of the World’s best riders taking part and it was the first time the race had been in Carmarthenshire in its entire history.
Large crowds gathered across Carmarthenshire to see the likes of Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome of Team Sky, who led the race out from the official start.
Speaking to Llanelli Online before the race Geraint Thomas said that he was not looking for a personal win but to lead other members of his team to a victory.
Thousands of fans took to the streets across the U.K. throughout the week to cheer on the riders.
Stage 1 saw the riders going through Carmarthen and Llandovery before making their way to the finish in Newport. One of the highlights was the KOM stage at Bethlehem Hill where Nicholas Dlamini crossed the line for maximum points for the KOM jersey.
Winner of stage 1 was Germany’s André Greipel of Lotto Soudal with a time of 4 hours and 54 seconds.
The highest performing British rider was Gabriel Cullaigh who finished in 4th.
Stage 2 saw the riders start at Cranbrook before making their way to Barnstaple. A distance of just under 175km.
Its final climb, the one-kilometre ascent of Challacombe, near Woolacombe (which averages 13%), was situated close enough to the finish to encourage attacks but also enabled the sprinters’ teams to mobilise their trains in support of their leaders. It resulted in a nail-biting finale.
Australian Cameron Meyer took 1st place with local Carmarthen rider Scott Davies finishing in 11th place.
The third stage began and ended in Bristol, a City admired for its diverse music scene, its bars and nightlife. Patrick Bevin of New Zealand took 1st place on the stage. Carmarthenshire’s Scott Davies maintained a strong position becoming the best British rider during some of the stages. He finished in 10th place on stage 3.
Nuneaton to Leamington Spa was next on the agenda, with the New Zealander once again holding his leading position on stage 4. Many of the same roads were used that the world’s top women covered in Britain’s leading women’s stage race earlier in the year.
The north-south-north direction taken by the route allowed spectators to catch the world’s best riders on a number of occasions; most notably at the Eisberg Sprint at Kenilworth and the potential bunch sprint come Royal Leamington Spa.
Primoz Roglic was the winner of the time trial on stage 5, which started at Cockermouth, passing through Allerdale and finishing in Whinlatter a much shorter distance of 14km. For the cycling buff, Allerdale had it all. It is home of the start of the Coast to Coast and Hadrian’s Cycleway which includes many steep hills and slippery slopes.
Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe began to catch the attention of followers when he finally took 1st place on stage 6, which took place between Barrow-in-Furness and Whinlatter Pass. This stage covered over 168km and it gave fans the biggest hint yet as to who would be crowned the 2018 champion in London.
Stage 7 started to take its toll with a distance of over 215 km between West Bridgford and Mansfield. Alaphilippe took 1st place for the second consecutive time. This put him in a strong position to seal victory on the next and stage.
Huge crowds gathered in Central London on the final day, with a police estimate of around 150,000 lining the circuit along the route.
The final stage saw the riders covering a distance of 77km. All eyes were on the finish line where the Frenchman took the stage and the GC first place, winning the Tour and indicating his intentions as a contender for next year’s Tour De France.
Alaphilippe finished with a total time of 26 hours, 25 minutes and 58 seconds.
Welshman Scott Davies of Team Dimension Data was the highest performing British rider finishing in 12th place with Thomas and Froome (Team Sky) finishing in 69th and 79th place respectively.
Australian Mitchelton-Scott rider Caleb Ewan took sprint victory in the final stage on the last day of the race.
The final overall general classification standings:
- Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) of Quick-Step Floors, in 26 hours, 25 minutes and 58 seconds
- Wout Poels (Ned) of Team Sky, at 17 seconds
- Primož Roglič (Slo) of LottoNL-Jumbo, at 33 seconds
- Patrick Bevin (Aus) of BMC Racing, at 42 seconds
- Bob Jungels (Lux) of Quick-Step Floors, at 51 seconds
- Jascha Sütterlin (Ger) of Movistar, at 58 seconds
- Nielson Powless (USA) of LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1 minute, 10 seconds
- Dmitri Strakhov (Rus) of Katusha-Alpecin, at 1 minute, 24 seconds
- Chris Hamilton (Aus) of Sunweb, at 1 minute, 28 seconds
- Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) of LottoNL–Jumbo, at 1 minute, 34 seconds
- Cameron Meyer (Aus) of Mitchelton–Scott, at 1 minute, 49 seconds
- Scott Davies (GBR) of Team Dimension Data, at 1 minute, 54 seconds