Tour of Britain: Banaszek 5th in mass sprint  

Alan Banaszek sprinted to top 5 on stage 4 of OVO Energy Tour of Britain, being defeated only by world class sprinters.

Info: Stage 4, 6th of September, Mansfield – Newark-on-Trent, 164,7km

Course: flat

How it unfolded

There was a lot of action after the flag dropped, but eventually after 20km of racing breakaway was established. Alexandre Blain, Richard Handly (both Madison Genesis), Mark McNally (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), Jacob Scott (An Post Chain Reaction), Alisair Slate (JLT Condor) made up the escape. Bryan Lewis (Cylance Cycling) and James Lowsley-Williams (BIKE Channel Canyon) tried to bridge to them, but as it later turned out they illegally attacked on the pavement and were both disqualified from the race during the stage.

5-man break maintained 4-minute lead and the peloton waited very long until they started the pursuit. With 10km to go the gap was still at one minute.

CCC Sprandi Polkowice set up their 4-man train with 3,5km remaining, just before catching the breakaway. The team did a great job of leading out their youngster Alan Banaszek, who turned that effort into 5th place at the line. He was outsprinted only by world class sprinters, stage winner Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors), new GC leader Elia Viviani (Team Sky), Aleksander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) and Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo).

In the end it was extremely fast and it started to get nervous with 40km to go. Me and my teammates waited until 3km to go to move at the head of the bunch. The entire squad did a great job, since I could comfortably sit in the group for the entire day. In the sprint I could just focus on pushing the pedals and looking for the right lane. I had checked on Google Maps how the finale will look like and that helped me a lot. I knew what to expect and how technical finishing kilometers were – Alan Banaszek explains.