Tour of Britain 2016: Wout Poels wins on Haytor as Steve Cummings takes yellow jersey

Team Sky man claims summit finish victory as Brit closes in on overall victory

Team Sky’s Wout Poels won the Tour of Britain’s summit finish for the second consecutive year, as Brit Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) took over the race lead as stage six finished atop Haytor.

Poels followed up his victory on Hartside Fell in 2015 with another Tour of Britain stage win, but it was Cummings who pulled on the yellow jersey after Julien Vermote (Etixx-QuickStep) was dropped on the earlier parts of the Haytor climb.

Cummings trailed Vermote by six seconds ahead of the stage, but now boasts a 49-second lead over his nearest challenger Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) with only a 15km time trial and circuits in Bristol and London to come.

Wout Poels won the Tour of Britain stage six summit finish on Haytor (pic: Sirotti)

Four riders went clear in the day’s break, which stuck at the first attempt – intermediate sprints leader Jasper Bovenhuis (An Post Chain Reaction), Miguel Benito Diez (Caja Rural), Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).

In dull conditions, the four leaders were led up Chineway Hill by Benito Diez, while Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) again increased his mountains lead as he led the peloton over the climb three minutes later.

Etixx-QuickStep led the bunch, for race leader Julien Vermote, and the gap held as Bovenhuis collected more intermediate sprint points.

Benito Diez also led the way up Cadbury Hill, and Etixx-QuickStep continued to chase with both Visconti and Stewart within five minutes overall of Vermote and therefore potential threats overall.

Bovenhuis continued to sweep up the intermediate sprint points, but as Dimension Data and Lotto-Soudal shared in the pace-setting duties in the bunch, the Belgian was the man caught out when the break responded.

With his job for the day done, he was happy to sit up and return to the peloton as Visconti tested the legs of the two remaining escapees.

They were still together, with a three-minute lead, as they approached Haytor though – the gap holding steady despite some nasty uncategorised pitches.

Benito was next to crack, however, leaving just Stewart and Visconti up the road, and despite the Spaniard fighting back, the Movistar man eventually went clear on the Dunchideock climb.

With Team Sky setting a relentless pace on the front of the bunch, however, and the undulating south west roads starting to bite, the gap came tumbling down.

Benito and Stewart shook hands and stood up as the peloton swept by with 12km to go, and Visconti’s lone break was ended shortly afterwards too.

BMC Racing, Cannondale-Drapac and Wanty-Groupe Gobert all joined Team Sky at the front to control the tempo with 5km to go.

The peloton thinned under pressure, but Vermote sat comfortably in the yellow jersey on team-mate Tony Martin’s wheel.

Eduardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF), a winner on The Tumble two years ago, was the first to test the pace-setters but his early attack on the climb was short-lived.

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), 11th overall ahead of the stage, was next to try his luck and his move lasted a little longer as Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) tried to chase him down.

Dumoulin, Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) made the junction and the four-man move opened up a small lead.

Tony Martin continued to chase, with Dan Martin on his wheel, but Vermote lost contact and disappeared out the back of the bunch, prompting Steve Cummings – second overall at six seconds – to try his own attack.

Steve Cummings leads the Tour of Britain by 49 seconds with just two stages to race (pic: Sweetspot)

Cummings dragged Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) across with him to the four leaders, and their advantage over the yellow jersey – with Dennis and Dumoulin doing much of the pulling – stretched out towards one minute.

A second chasing group, with Nicolas Roche and King of the Mountains leader Meurisse in tow also looked to come across, but Dumoulin, Dennis and Poels kicked again at the front.

It left Cummings, the virtual leader on the road, with a defensive job to do and it worked to his advantage when Poels – not a threat overall – attacked the other two leaders.

Poels pressed on alone as the road opened out, and the cover from the wind provided by the trees disappeared – pushing on through the crowds and into the final, barriered part of the climb.

Dumoulin and Dennis closed in on the Dutchman, who battled against the gusts but he had enough of an advantage, and enough in the tank, to take the stage.

Dennis and Dumoulin followed six seconds later, both picking up handy bonus seconds, while Cummings came across 20 seconds down – enough to take over the race lead.

Meurisse beat Roche on the line, meanwhile to stretch his mountains lead further and ensure he’ll wear the jersey all the way to the London finale.

Vermote crossed the finish line 1’50” back – his stint in the yellow jersey now over – leaving Cummings in the yellow jersey ahead of the split time trial and circuit race stage in Bristol on stage seven.

Tour of Britain 2016: stage six – result

1) Wout Poels (NED) – Team Sky – 4.56.15hrs
2) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – BMC Racing +6”
3) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Alpecin +8”
4) Dylan van Baarle (NED) – Cannondale-Drapac +12”
5) Xandro Meurisse (BEL) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert +16”
6) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – Team Sky – ST
7) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal
8) Steve Cummings (GBR) – Dimension Data +20”
9) Erick Rowsell (GBR) – Madison-Genesis +30”
10) Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar – ST

General classification

1) Steve Cummings (GBR) – Dimension Data – 27.04.11hrs
2) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Alpecin +49”
3) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – BMC Racing +51”
4) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal +53”
5) Dylan van Baarle (NED) – Cannondale-Drapac +57”
6) Xandro Meurisse (BEL) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert +58”
7) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – Team Sky +1.06
8) Ben Swift (GBR) – Team Sky +1.14
9) Jacopo Mosca (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo +1.20
10) Guillaume Martin (FRA) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert +1.24

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