Van Aert takes overall victory on Tour of Britain
Wout van Aert has won the Tour of Britain for the second time. On the challenging Bryn Du, the Belgian rider of Team Jumbo-Visma had to let go of eventual stage winner Carlos Rodríguez but could maintain his lead in the general classification owing to strong teamwork. As the icing on the cake, Olav Kooij took home the points jersey.
The final stage ignited on the Bryn Du. INEOS Grenadiers accelerated to allow Rodríguez to attack. Van Aert rode at his own pace but saw Rodríguez, who had Stephen Williams with him, quickly pull away. Fortunately, he was soon helped as Steven Kruijswijk and Nathan Van Hooydonck rejoined the peloton on the flat. They managed to close the gap to the leaders. Van Aert continued to fight and eventually crossed the line in second place, eleven seconds behind Rodríguez. This proved to be more than enough for the overall victory.
"It was an excellent week for the team."
"I rode as smart as I could and fought until the end”, a delighted Van Aert said. "We knew that the other teams would put pressure on us. It was the most demanding stage of this tour, with the longest climbs. It wasn't ideal that Rodríguez got away, although it was unsurprising that he's stronger on a climb like the Bryn Du. Today, I owe everything to my teammates. On the flat, they were able to make things right.”
The Belgian time trial champion was focused solely on the GC. "The stage win was out of reach. I had to stay calm and save my energy. This win means a lot to me. Everyone was riding against us because we had won so many stages. That didn't make it easy. I am proud that I was able to finish it off. It was an excellent week for the team.”
"This is an extraordinary achievement”, sports director Maarten Wynants said. "It is extraordinary that we have won five stages in a row, the points classification and the general classification. I especially appreciate that everyone contributed significantly to the result. Steven and Jos, for example, were up front all week. Also, Nathan and Edoardo's control work cannot be underestimated. We know they can do it, but you also need to demonstrate it. It is outstanding. And we haven't even touched on Olav's four stage wins and how he finished it off time and time again. Hats off to the whole team.”
Van Aert's victory meant Team Jumbo-Visma's 59th win this season.