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Tour of Britain - 2.1

Great Britain, August 29-September 3, 2006

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Stage 4 - September 1: Wolverhampton to Birmingham, 130.3km

Belgian breaks locals' hearts in Birmingham

By Gerry McManus in Birmingham

Frederick Willems
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Frederik Willems (Chocolade Jacques-Topsport) proved the quickest on the Tour of Britain's shortest stage from Wolverhampton to Birmingham on Friday. Willems also broke many British hearts when he escaped from Britain's Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) and Paul Manning (Landbouwkredit-Colnago) in the final run in to the city centre. The British duo finished second and third respectively.

Martin Pedersen (CSC) came home safely in the bunch some five minutes later but that was enough to keep the leader's yellow jersey and bring it down to the Kent countryside for the penultimate stage on Saturday. Russell Downing (DFL-Cyclingnews.com-Litespeed) rode a controlled race and ensured he kept the green points jersey, taking third in the bunch sprint and finished 11th in the stage - but now has Cavendish hot on his heels, only a point behind the Doncaster rider.

How it unfolded

The shortest stage in the race was likely to be the quickest and the action started after five miles when a group of four slipped away. Casper Jorgensen (Denmark), Simon Clarke (South Australia.com-AIS), Geraint Thomas (GB) and Ben Swift (GB) went clear and were no danger to the overall GC. They were joined by Willems, Andy Schleck (CSC) Wilfred Cretskens (QuickStep-Innergetic) and Rene Weissinger (Barloworld), but the bunch closed them down after they had a short spell of freedom.

The race headed further out of town reaching speeds of 50 miles an hour on one of the descents. A new breakaway group broke the elastic from the main field containing Brits Thomas, Cavendish, Rob Partridge (Recycling.co.uk) and Manning with Willems, Johan Van Summeren (Davitamon-Lotto), Cameron Jennings (DFL-Cyclingnews.com) and Juan Manuel Garate (QuickStep-Innergetic).

DFL/Cyclingnews.com consults
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Their lead grew slowly from 50 metres to 40 seconds then just over a minute on the flat race route, then shot up sharply as the bunch let them slip away. The gap grew to 3'20 after only 20km of racing and CSC were keeping the pace of the bunch at a respectable tempo.

The leaders didn't contest the sprint at Gnosall and they continued to share the pace equally, with no turns missed in their through-and-off exercise. Barloworld and Skil Shimano had joined forces at the front of the peloton to chase the leaders. There was no repeat of the previous days' bad weather as the temperature grew to 22C and the sun kept the spectators warm.

The riders bumped their way through Shugborough Park, exceeding the speed limit and jumping over the 'speeding policemen.' The leaders didn't contest the KOM at Cannock Chase, but Panaria led the bunch up the third category climb as they put the hammer down and the lead came down to 2'53. But the lead went back up just as quickly and the slowing bunch let the eight leaders slip further from their grasp. The main field was running out of road and the lead went over five minutes.

In the closing miles, Van Summeren was the first to break clear from the leaders with Jennings close behind, but they only managed to get a 30-metre break. Cavendish was the known sprinter in the break and none of the others wanted to bring him to the finish line. Manning and Willems saw an opportunity and grasped it with both hands with Cavendish chasing but not making ground.

The eight-man
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Cavendish almost made it across to the leaders as the finish line loomed and suddenly there was confusion at the last roundabout. There were no signs on the roundabout to indicate which way round to go, so Willems went one way and Cavendish followed him about 15 metres behind. Manning had gone the long way round and lost his chance of victory. Cavendish went eyeballs out but had to be content with second place ahead of Manning. Willems' celebration as he took the chequered flag was muted.

Francesco Chicchi (QuickStep-Innergetic) won the bunch sprint some five minutes back. The recorded race speed was almost 28mph, as Andy Schleck (CSC) retained the mountains jersey and Johan Van Summeren (Davitamon-Lotto) still leads the sprints competition.

The race now has the Tour's biggest transfer, 130 miles south to Rochester for Saturday's stage to Canterbury.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Gerry McManus/www.gerrymcmanus.co.uk

Images by Richard O'Brien


1 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport    2.54.12
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile                           0.02
3 Paul Manning (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago              0.06
4 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic           0.13
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Great Britain                      0.15
6 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed       0.19
7 Rob Partridge (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                     0.28
8 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                0.31
9 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic            5.20
10 Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport            
11 Russell Downing (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed           
12 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago          
13 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport               
14 Ross Sander (GBr) Great Britain                            
15 Roger Hammond (GBr) Great Britain                          
16 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Skil-Shimano                      
17 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                
18 Michael Morkov (Den) Denmark                               
19 Mirko Allegrini (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare            
20 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile                              
21 Kristan House (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        
22 Luke Roberts (Aus) CSC                                     
23 Edward Clancy (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                
24 Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                          
25 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC                                       
26 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com                           
27 Nick Nuyens (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic                     
28 Evan Oliphant (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        
29 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic                 
30 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Unibet.com                           
31 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Unibet.com                               
32 Hugo Sabido (Por) Barloworld                               
33 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Denmark                               
34 Ian Stannard (GBr) Great Britain                           
35 Ben Swift (GBr) Great Britain                              
36 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                        
37 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                         
38 Robert Hunter (RSA) Phonak iShares                         
39 Andy Schleck (Lux) CSC                                     
40 Karsten Kroon (Ned) CSC                                    
41 Martin Pedersen (Den) CSC                                  
42 Dean Downing (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed              
43 Ben Greenwood (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        
44 Christian Vandevelde (USA) CSC                             
45 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic              
46 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile                            
47 Andrew Tennant (GBr) Great Britain                         
48 Simon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS                 
49 Mads Christensen (Den) Barloworld                          
50 Frederik Veuchulen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport        
51 Axel Merckx (Bel) Phonak iShares                           
52 Andre Steensen (Den) Denmark                               
53 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Skil-Shimano                         
54 Johann Tschopp (Swi) Phonak iShares                        
55 Koen Barbe (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport                
56 Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon Lotto                           
57 Ryan Cox (RSA) Barloworld                                  
58 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Unibet.com                           
59 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Barloworld                             
60 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic                      
61 Matteo Priamo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare              
62 Mathew Lloyd (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS                 
63 Patrick McCarty (USA) Phonak iShares                       
64 Enrico Degano (Ita) Barloworld                             
65 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano                        
66 Rene Weissinger (Ger) Skil-Shimano                         
67 Alex Coutts (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed               
68 James Meadley (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS                
69 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare            
70 Casper Jorgensen (Den) Denmark                             
71 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Davitamon Lotto                         
72 Christopher Newton (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                   
73 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile                            
74 Robin Sharman (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        
75 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Unibet.com                           5.37
76 Shaun Higgerson (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS              
77 Tom Barras (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed                
78 Jonathon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS              
1 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                   5 pts
2 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport          3
3 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed          2
4 Paul Manning (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                 1
1 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                   5 pts
2 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport          3
3 Paul Manning (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                 2
4 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic              1
Great Barr
1 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                   5 pts
2 Rob Partridge (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        3
3 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic              2
4 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport          1
KOM Cat 3: Cannock Chase
1 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic              5 pts
2 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed          3
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile                              2
4 Rob Partridge (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        1
1 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                    
1 Chocolade Jacques-Topsport                           8.53.16
2 T-Mobile                                                0.02
3 Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                 0.06
4 QuickStep-Innergetic                                    0.13
5 Great Britain                                           0.15
6 DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed                              0.19
7 Recycling.co.uk                                         0.28
8 Davitamon Lotto                                         0.31
9 CSC                                                     5.20
10 Unibet.com                                                 
11 Denmark                                                    
12 Skil-Shimano                                               
13 Barloworld                                                 
14 Phonak iShares                                             
15 Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                                  
16 South Australia.com-AIS                                    
General classification after stage 4
1 Martin Pedersen (Den) CSC                           15.25.56
2 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com                        0.51
3 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic              2.11
4 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile                           2.46
5 Nick Nuyens (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic                  2.47
6 Johann Tschopp (Swi) Phonak iShares                     2.55
7 Andy Schleck (Lux) CSC                                  3.02
8 Russell Downing (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed        3.21
9 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport            3.23
10 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Skil-Shimano                  3.25
11 Mirko Allegrini (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare        3.29
12 Kristan House (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                    3.31
13 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                    3.33
14 Karsten Kroon (Ned) CSC                                    
15 Hugo Sabido (Por) Barloworld                           3.34
16 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago            3.35
17 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Unibet.com                               
18 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile                            
19 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Unibet.com                       3.47
20 Roger Hammond (GBr) Great Britain                      4.15
21 Luke Roberts (Aus) CSC                                 4.21
22 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago      4.25
23 Michael Morkov (Den) Denmark                           4.39
24 Ian Stannard (GBr) Great Britain                       5.15
25 Robert Hunter (RSA) Phonak iShares                     7.53
26 Ryan Cox (RSA) Barloworld                                  
27 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC                                  15.19
28 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile                         16.19
29 Simon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS            18.08
30 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Skil-Shimano                    21.40
31 Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport       21.43
32 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano                        
33 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic                 21.46
34 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic              
35 Andrew Tennant (GBr) Great Britain                    22.29
36 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Davitamon Lotto                    25.38
37 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport     26.10
38 Paul Manning (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago            26.18
39 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed     26.35
40 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto              26.40
41 Rob Partridge (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                   26.53
42 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Great Britain                    27.06
43 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic         30.21
44 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic          31.37
45 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Denmark                               
46 Dean Downing (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed              
47 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                         
48 Koen Barbe (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport                
49 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Unibet.com                           
50 Andre Steensen (Den) Denmark                               
51 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare            
52 Evan Oliphant (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                   31.47
53 Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                          
54 Enrico Degano (Ita) Barloworld                             
55 Frederik Veuchulen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport        
56 Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon Lotto                           
57 Christian Vandevelde (USA) CSC                             
58 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Barloworld                             
59 Ben Greenwood (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        
60 James Meadley (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS                
61 Axel Merckx (Bel) Phonak iShares                           
62 Robin Sharman (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                        
63 Patrick McCarty (USA) Phonak iShares                       
64 Mads Christensen (Den) Barloworld                          
65 Alex Coutts (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed               
66 Mathew Lloyd (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS                 
67 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile                            
68 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Unibet.com                          32.04
69 Tom Barras (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed                
70 Shaun Higgerson (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS              
71 Casper Jorgensen (Den) Denmark                        32.11
72 Ben Swift (GBr) Great Britain                         33.17
73 Edward Clancy (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago           33.20
74 Matteo Priamo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare         33.26
75 Jonathon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS         34.09
76 Ross Sander (GBr) Great Britain                       34.42
77 Christopher Newton (GBr) Recycling.co.uk              37.01
78 Rene Weissinger (Ger) Skil-Shimano                    38.20
Points classification
1 Russell Downing (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed          36 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile                             35
3 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic              29
4 Martin Pedersen (Den) CSC                                 27
5 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic                26
6 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago         23
7 Roger Hammond (GBr) Great Britain                         21
8 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport              16
9 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Denmark                              16
10 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport        15
11 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com                         14
12 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile                            14
13 Nick Nuyens (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic                   14
14 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Skil-Shimano                       14
15 Paul Manning (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago               13
16 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic            12
17 Enrico Degano (Ita) Barloworld                           12
18 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Unibet.com                             12
19 Johann Tschopp (Swi) Phonak iShares                      11
20 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Great Britain                       11
21 Andy Schleck (Lux) CSC                                   10
22 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed        10
23 Rob Partridge (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                       9
24 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                  8
25 Mirko Allegrini (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare           7
26 Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport           7
27 Rene Weissinger (Ger) Skil-Shimano                        7
28 Kristan House (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                       6
29 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Skil-Shimano                     5
30 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                       5
31 Karsten Kroon (Ned) CSC                                   4
32 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Unibet.com                              3
33 Luke Roberts (Aus) CSC                                    3
34 Hugo Sabido (Por) Barloworld                              2
35 Dean Downing (GBr) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed             2
36 Ross Sander (GBr) Great Britain                           2
37 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago               1
Mountains classification
1 Andy Schleck (Lux) CSC                                    31 pts
2 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                        24
3 Ben Greenwood (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                       24
4 Martin Pedersen (Den) CSC                                 23
5 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                  19
6 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com                           9
7 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago          8
8 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic                 7
9 Nick Nuyens (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic                     6
10 Karsten Kroon (Ned) CSC                                   6
11 Luke Roberts (Aus) CSC                                    6
12 Hugo Sabido (Por) Barloworld                              5
13 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC                                      5
14 Christian Vandevelde (USA) CSC                            5
15 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic             4
16 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Unibet.com                          4
17 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed         3
18 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile                           3
19 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile                             2
20 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile                             2
21 Axel Merckx (Bel) Phonak iShares                          2
Sprints classification
1 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                  25 pts
2 Martin Pedersen (Den) CSC                                 18
3 Nick Nuyens (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic                     7
4 Luke Roberts (Aus) CSC                                     7
5 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport          7
6 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com                           7
7 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                         6
8 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile                              5
9 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic                 3
10 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport              3
11 Rob Partridge (GBr) Recycling.co.uk                       3
12 Paul Manning (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                3
13 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) QuickStep-Innergetic             3
14 Hugo Sabido (Por) Barloworld                              2
15 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed         2
16 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                       1
17 Karsten Kroon (Ned) CSC                                   1
18 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano                       1
19 Christian Vandevelde (USA) CSC                            1
Teams classification
1 CSC                                                 46.24.42
2 Unibet.com                                              1.19
3 QuickStep-Innergetic                                   15.03
4 T-Mobile                                               16.01
5 Great Britain                                          18.58
6 Skil-Shimano                                           21.47
7 Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                27.29
8 Phonak iShares                                         35.41
9 Barloworld                                             36.21
10 Chocolade Jacques-Topsport                            44.31
11 DFL-Cycling News-Litespeed                            54.44
12 Recycling.co.uk                                       55.19
13 Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                             59.59
14 Denmark                                             1.00.59
15 South Australia.com-AIS                             1.12.12
16 Davitamon Lotto                                     1.13.25

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