Canyon dhb SunGod at the Tour of Britain: Stage four in pictures

A stellar display of climbing from Max Stedman helped him soar to 11th place on the queen stage of the 2021 Tour of Britain. Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe slugged it out for glory on the Great Orme summit finish – with the Belgian finally overhauling the French world champion. But just 29sec adrift, Max crossed the line alongside Nicolas Roche as the top UCI Continental rider on the day.

Earlier team-mate Jacob Scott had escaped in his third successive breakaway – and continued to rack up the points in the king of the mountains and intermediate sprints competitions. It’s going to take something special for someone to snatch them away from him over the final four stages, particularly the KOM where he boasts an 18-point advantage.

We’re now at the halfway mark and here’s the latest of our daily photo diaries...

The Great Orme, you say? Stage four delivered the race’s first and only summit finish – atop The Great Orme, Llandudno. A limestone headland on the north coast of Wales, its English name derives from the Old Norse word for sea serpent. At least we think that’s what Matt Bostock was telling his team-mates here!

A punishing 1.9km climb with ramps up to 22%, The Great Orme certainly lived up to its name. And Max Stedman, who lowered the British Everesting record last year, claimed a fair few World Tour scalps on this one – coming as it did at the end of a picturesque 210km stage out of Aberaeron.

Give me a minute! Unsurprisingly, Max took a few moments to catch his breath at the end of stage four. But when the fog cleared, the 25-year-old learned he had finished 11th in some esteemed company. He crossed the line alongside Grand Tour stage winner Nicolas Roche and was only seconds adrift of riders such as Dan Martin, Julian Alaphilippe and stage winner Wout van Aert. Chapeau Max!

If it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen, right? Well fortunately Max has uploaded his ride. And the exercise tracking platform tells us he averaged a shade under 400w over the steepest 900m of The Great Orme climb – with its average gradient of 13.8%. It took him 3min 27sec. For someone who weighs little more than 50kg, that’s some effort. Not sure Ryan Christensen can believe it, either!

Something borrowed, something blue. Rory Townsend was proudly sporting the race’s points jersey on stage four. Second in the standings, he was looking after it for general classification leader Ethan Hayter. He did it proud, too, finishing in 44th spot. And with The Great Orme now out of the way, he’ll be looking forward to a return to some faster finishes in the second half of the race.

It was another epic day for this guy, too. Jacob Scott has now made the breakaway on each of the three road stages. And he banked another raft of points to strengthen his grip on the king of the mountains and intermediate sprints competitions. He carried the former to glory throughout the 2019 race. And only lost it on the final stage of the 2017 renewal. Reckon they might need to rename it Jacob's Jersey!

Another breakaway tomorrow? Sign me up. We’re proud of our tagline "don't hold back" – it’s a motto to encourage, inspire and empower anyone on their journey towards a goal, however big or small. If one rider has epitomised that mantra throughout this race so far, it’s Jacob Scott. Never short of a smile, he’s here to race, to give everything he has – but to have fun while doing it.

You’re coming home with me, lad! We have four stages to go in the 2021 Tour of Britain. The second half of the race begins with a 152.2km dash from Alderley Park to Warrington, where a fast flat finish will greet the riders.

The race continues...