Dutch rider Dylan van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp) will take a 19-second lead into the final day of the Tour of Britain when the race concludes in London after the yellow jersey changed hands yet again on Saturday.
By
AFP

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:34 PM

Julien Vermote (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the seventh and penultimate stage in Brighton on England's south coast, but the key action as far as the overall classification was concerned happened behind him, as the peloton split in two with Alex Dowsett, who took the race lead on Friday, left behind.

"Today I was really surprised with how good I felt, because except for one day here I've ridden on the front," said Vermote.

"We won with Mark Renshaw (on Stage 1) and then Michal Kwiatkowski won (on Stage 4) and took the leader's jersey, so there was a lot of work to be done by us and I was happy to do it. Five days out of six I pulled for the team; one of those stages I was on the front the whole stage. But every day I recovered well. Even then, it's not easy for me to win a stage because I am not a sprinter.

"Today the team said I should go, and if the move would not win the stage, maybe Kwiato and I could work together in the final kilometres. I went into the breakaway at the right moment and we knew we had a good chance right away, especially after seeing what happened yesterday (Friday).

"On the second-to-last climb I decided to go, because I knew it was possible for a victory. I knew it was a risk and I made sure I went full gas. I really wanted to win a stage because so many riders on this team have at least one victory. Now I have joined them and I am super happy.

"I know my place on the team and I love to help my teammates, but it's also nice when you can go for your own result when the opportunity is there. My team-mates were so happy for me after the finish and it shows that the work I do for all of them, and the team, includes big rewards for myself, too."

Kwiatkowski led a chasing pack over the line that included defending champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), one minute 20 seconds behind the stage winner.

Van Baarle, who was also in the breakaway, took the yellow jersey, 19 seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski and 25 clear of Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF).

Afterwards, Olympic champion Wiggins played down his chances of retaining his title come Sunday's concluding time trial in London which sees him 47sec off the lead.

"(Taking the lead) is a big ask over 8.8 kilometres," he said on the Team Sky website.

"But you never know with crashes and punctures - anything can happen.

"I think a podium is more realistic. At the end of the day it's about going out there and trying to win the stage."

Wiggins added: "The crowd are really encouraging. We do so many races in Europe where you hardly see anyone on the road.

"From this morning all the way through the stage there were just lines of people. It's great and it's certainly changed over the last few years."

Stage 7: 221.5km - Camberley to Brighton
1 Julien Vermote (BEL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 5:12:34
2 Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU) MTN-Qhubeka 0:00:23
3 Dylan Van Baarle (NED) Garmin-Sharp
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:01:20
5 Lars-Petter Nordhaug (NOR) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
6 Kevin Ista (BEL) IAM Cycling
7 Dylan Teuns (BEL) BMC Racing Team
8 Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) IAM Cycling
9 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (ITA) Bardiani CSF
10 Edoardo Zardini (ITA) Bardiani CSF

General classification
1 Dylan Van Baarle (NED) Garmin-Sharp 30:22:02
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:19
3 Edoardo Zardini (ITA) Bardiani CSF 0:00:25
4 Nicolas Roche (IRE) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:35
5 Dylan Teuns (BEL) BMC Racing Team 0:00:36
6 Jon Izagirre Insausti (ESP) Movistar Team 0:00:45
7 Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Team Sky 0:00:47
8 David Lopez Garcia (ESP) Team Sky 0:00:49
9 Sébastien Reichenbach (SWI) IAM Cycling 0:00:51
10 Alex Dowsett (GBR) Movistar Team 0:00:59