Stages 5,7 & 8 of the 2014 Tour of Britain

In this post is a selection of images I took in Exmouth, Exeter, Brighton & London at this year’s Tour of Britain cycle race. As with last year, I attended 3 stages, with the finale again in London. The difference this year was taking photos with a broken wrist after a cycling accident a month ago, making life a bit more tricky!

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The sun had been shining down on the first four stages of the tour & that was no different at the start of stage 5 in Exmouth, Devon. People turned up in all sorts of outfits, many sporting the union jack.

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Some would be spending their birthdays in the saddle, though as they signed on both Rob Partridge & Enrique Sanz were given personalised birthday cakes. No doubt shared amongst their team mates in the evening.

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As if climbing todays hills and keeping his hair in check wasn’t enough, poor Marcel Kittel had to bend down to sign on, to the delight/horror of those in the crowd.

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After capturing the yellow jersey on stage 4 in Bristol, Michal Kwiatkowski of Omega Pharma Quick-Step is interviewed before stage 5 begins.

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Stage 2 winner & 2011 Exeter-Exmouth stage winner Mark Renshaw looks relaxed before the start of a stage that could end in a bunch sprint.

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Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel of the IAM Cycling team looks focused as he waits for stage 5 to get underway.

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Over by the finish on Exeter high street, guests enjoy the hospitality and views over the finish straight.

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Before the peloton hits town, the Velo Vintage team make their way up and down the high street a few times after also displaying in Exmouth in the morning.

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IAM cycling’s Matthias Brandle spent the day in the breakaway group & powered to a solo stage victory after pulling away on Stoke Hill.

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Over in Brighton, crowds were gathering hours before the riders scaled the final KOM climb of the tour on Bear Road.

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First to scale Bear Road was Julien Vermote of Omega Pharma Quick-Step. He managed to keep the solo breakaway and take the win, the team’s 3rd winner of this tour (after Renshaw & Kwiatkowski) down by the sea in Brighton.

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A decisive attack in terms of the GC followed Vermote as young Dylan Van Baarle created enough of a gap to his nearest rivals that he took a comfortable lead in the standings, with only the London stages 8a & 8b to go.

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You always get countless people dressing up for the occasion with cycle races & this chicken running alongside the riders on Bear Road was no exception.

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Over the course of about 30 minutes, one by one, with the occasional group, the cyclists scaled the final climb. Ditchling Beacon & Bear Road taking their toll.

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As some people made their way home (unaware that the broom wagon follows the last rider) we all waited for the last few riders. There was a good group of them working together, no time to look at the view of Brighton behind them though, they just wanted to make the finish!

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Over to the final two stages in London now. The day kicked off with stage 8a, the individual time trial. Here, stage 1 winner Marcel Kittel of Giant Shimano grimaces as he powers towards the line. Setting a time within 1 second of Mark Cavendish.

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Madison Genesis rider Alex Peters had a more difficult time out there, hitting the barriers by Parliament square, damaging his front wheel. Bike in hand, he walked along whitehall towards the finish as spectators on both sides applauded him.

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Alex Dowsett, former yellow jersey wearer & winner of the same time trial in 2011, couldn’t quite match the blistering times of those before him.

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Sebastian Henao, after a nasty crash on stage 5 in Exeter, cycles his way to a respectable position in the time trail rankings.

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6th from last, the man most had been waiting for Sir Bradley Wiggins, last year’s winner, powered his way to a 9 minute 50second time on the course. Wearing his national time trial champion’s jersey & riding his special Pinarello tt bike, the stage win moved Wiggins up from 6th to 3rd overall. A great warm up for the world championships a couple of weeks away.

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In between the two stages, the Coldstream Guards took to the circuit to provide some musical entertainment.

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The four Jersey holders Lander, Van Baarle, Kwiatkowski & Mcnally line up ready to lead the peloton out for the final stage of this year’s Tour of Britain.

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Overall leader Dylan Van Baarle of Garmin Sharp, waits for the stage to begin. He later finished in the bunch, consolidating his 1st place in this year’s tour.

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In the closing stages of the 10 lap race, the peloton forms in arrowhead formation, picking up pace to catch the breakaway & set up for the bunch sprint.

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People were hoping for a strong sprint finish & they got it, Marcel Kittel just edged out Mark Cavendish by a wheels length, both closely followed by Nicola Ruffoni of Bardiani CSF.

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All that was left now was the podium presentations. Bradley Wiggins shows the youngsters Van Baarle & Kwiatkowski how it’s done when it comes to popping open the champagne.

Another great edition of the Tour in the books with a winner not many would have predicted at the beginning. 3rd place also a solid way for Bradley Wiggins to return to the race he won last year.

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