Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) soloed to victory on stage five of the Tour of Britain in Exeter as the break held off the peloton.
Brandle accelerated clear of his three former breakaway companions on the final climb of the day, up Pennsylvania Road, and stayed clear to celebrate victory.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), meanwhile, maintained his advantage overall as he finished safely in the peloton.
The day began at a relatively slow pace, though Alex Dowsett (Movistar) – still hurting after suffering a double puncture in the break on stage four – lit the blue touch paper as he attempted to escape.
It prompted a flurry of action on the front of the bunch as Team Sky and Omega Pharma-Quickstep led the chase to bring him straight back.
The group to go clear shortly afterwards offered no threat overall, however, and were soon allowed to build an advantage.
Marten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling), Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling), Shane Archbold (An Post Chain Reaction) and Andreas Stauff (MTN-Qhubeka) were the men to go clear, working well to quickly build an advantage.
It represented the first time this week none of the five British UCI Continental teams were represented up the road, something they were to later rue.
Omega Pharma-Quickstep, protecting the leader’s jersey of Michal Kwiatkowski, immediately positioned riders on the front to control the tempo with Team Sky and Garmin-Sharp also lending a hand.
Archbold led the way over Mamhead, with his team-mate, King of the Mountains Mark McNally, kicking from the bunch to strengthen his lead in the classification.
He did the same on Haytor, which was uncontested by the front four riders, but as soon as the day’s first climbs were over the pace settled down – allowing the leaders to maintain a steady advantage.
Omega Pharma-Quickstep, in particular Mark Renshaw and Niki Terpstra, continued to work hard on the front while Garmin-Sharp also lent firepower to the chase again.
The gap to the front four continued to hold, however, and with Team Sky unwilling to set up a potential stage win – and more bonus seconds for Kwiatkowski – it was left to Tinkoff-Saxo and Bardiani CSF to bring men forward to close it down.
As they approached the final climb, a category-two ascent of Pennsylvania Road, the gap was down to less than a minute however as Bernie Eisel finally came to the front to marshall the peloton.
The attacks started immediately, however, with Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) repeating his trick of the last two stages as he burst clear of the bunch.
Up the road, Brandle made a solo bid for freedom but the bunch, with Bauer swallowed back up, continued to close the gap.
The Austrian rider continued to lead as he hit the final kilometre, maintaining his lead over the bunch as the GC men moved forward in the peloton – Kwiatkowski among them.
With Archbold and Wynants also chasing in between, the stage honours, it quickly became apparent, were heading Brandle’s way.
And so it proved as he soloed across the line, celebrating his third victory of the season in the process.
Archbold and Wynants took second and third respectively while Kwiatkowski finished on the front of the bunch which was led over the line by Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF).
It means the Polish rider maintains his lead overall, ahead of a tricky undulating stage six.
Tour of Britain 2014: stage five – result
1) Matthias Brandle (AUT) – IAM Cycling – 4.32.03hrs
2) Shane Archbold (NZL) – An Post Chain Reaction +8”
3) Maarten Wynants (BEL) – Belkin Pro Cycling – ST
4) Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) – Bardiani-CSF +14”
5) Ben Swift (GBR) – Team Sky – ST
6) Rick Zabel (GER) – BMC Racing
7) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep
8) Kevyn Ista (BEL) – IAM Cycling
9) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – Tinkoff-Saxo
10) Jack Bauer (NZL) – Garmin-Sharp
1) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep – 20.21.50hrs
2) Edoardo Zardini (ITA) – Bardiani-CSF +3”
3) Dylan Teuns (BEL) – BMC Racing +14”
4) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – Tinkoff-Saxo – ST
5) Jon Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar +23”
6) Sir Bradley Wiggins (GBR) – Team Sky +27”
7) David Lopez (ESP) – Team Sky – ST
8) Leopold Konig (CZE) – Team NetApp-Endura +29”
9) Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI) – IAM Cycling – ST
10) Giovanni Visconti (ITA) – Movistar +40”