It’s never over until it’s over and Łukasz Owsian proved that on the last stage of OVO Energy Tour of Britain, making up the deficit in the KOM standings and claiming the jersey. In addition to that, Jonas Koch sprinted to 9th place to wrap up the race.
Info: Stage 8, 10th of September, Hemel Hemstead – Cheltenham, 185,1km
Course: undulating (three cat. 3 climbs)
How it unfolded
The race heated up right after the gun. Due to multiple attacks and high pace the field broke into pieces. 50-man leading group was established, which included Jonas Koch, Maciej Paterski and Łukasz Owsian. The presence of the latter was very important for the “orange squad”, since KOM jersey wearer, Jacob Scott (An Post Chain Reaction) didn’t make the cut. With just 7 points deficit and 12 points up for grabs Owsian was in the contention for the victory in the mountains classification.
At second categorized climb of the day Owsian broke clear with Laurens De Plus, Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step Floors) and Mark Stewart (An Post Chain Reaction). Quick Step duo crested the top ahead of CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider, but he still picked up 4 points, cutting the gap to Scott to just 3 points. Everything was decided on the last categorized hill of the race. Owsian did a great job of keeping an eye on his rivals and not attacking too early. He reached the top in 2nd place, securing the King of the Mountains jersey.
In the descent Mark Stewart (An Post Chain Reaction) and Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) tried make something happen and kept around 20-30-second lead until 8km to go, when they got caught.
Technical finale, on a circuit in Cardiff, saw Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) attacking solo with 2,5km remaining. He managed to hold on and take the win, ahead of Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Alpecin). Jonas Koch was up there with the fastest, finishing in 9th place, two spots ahead of other CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider, Maciej Paterski. He was the highest placed “rider in orange” in GC, taking 21st place, 1:42 behind the overall winner Lars Boom (Team LottoNL-Jumbo).
Our initial strategy was to work for Alan Banaszak, because we had been expecting that the stage will end with a bunch sprint. As it turned out first categorized climb shattered the field and together with our DS, Piotr Wadecki we decided to change our plans and try to go for the KOM jersey. Leader of that classification was not in the first group and we were able to take advantage of that. In the end I was trying to help my teammates, so they could save energy for the finale – Łukasz Owsian explained.
To reclaim and win the jersey in such a prestigious race makes me very happy and I think it’s big success for me and our team, as we showed that we can compete against World Tour teams. It was also nice to accept the jersey on the podium from Sir Bradley Wiggins. You don’t get to talk to such a cycling legend to often.