Ian Stannard marked a gutsy solo victory at the Tour of Britain in what was Team Sky’s second consecutive stage victory.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
9 Sep 2018 - 6:27 AM  UPDATED 9 Sep 2018 - 6:54 AM

Stannard was relentless through the 215.6km race, attacking from the gun in West Bridgford to force an escape that he ultimately was the best of at the finish in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The 31-year-old repeatedly attacked Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) within the last 20km, eventually accelerating clear to take line hours at the end of the undulating trek.

Politt finished the stage 59 seconds adrift with Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF) three minutes and nine seconds behind Stannard for third. Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) retained the green leader’s jersey and has all but won the race ahead of the 77km London circuit finale.

It was a long-awaited victory for Stannard, whose last win was Stage 4 of the 2017 Herald Sun Tour.

“It was always pretty close [with Politt], seven- eight seconds, so it was getting tough. I got a few more little kicks towards the end and managed to put more of a gap in, so I was happy then,” said Stannard.

“Once I got in the break I was pretty confident. I looked at the guys, how they were riding all day and kind of knew I had the edge.”

Stannard, Politts, Carboni and Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) comprised the main breakaway of the day following a frantic start where fans, wearing green felt hats in tribute to legend of the region, Robin Hood, flocked the streets.

“We were worried about the wind but once we got racing, it wasn’t as bad as we thought. I went with some moves and ended up where I was,” Stannard said.

The quartet marked a maximum time gap in excess of six minutes, which the peloton pegged back to about four minutes before resigning in the wind and rain.