No surprises! Four World Tour squads topped the charts after the stage three team time trial in Carmarthenshire. And few would have predicted anything less, with resources a decisive factor in such a specific discipline.
For the Canyon dhb SunGod lads, with little or no opportunity to practice on their borrowed time trial bikes, the mission was to simply get round without alarm. And they did just that, finishing 13th of 18 – 2min 2sec adrift of stage winners INEOS Grenadiers.
Here we take you behind the scenes in the third of our 2021 Tour of Britain photo diaries...
In a world of marginal gains, the tape measure is king. Well, something like that. At least it’s a crucial piece of kit when you’re trying to set-up your unfamiliar time trial bike. As a UCI Continental squad, Canyon dhb SunGod don’t have the resources to have their own TT rigs. So for the likes of Ryan Christensen, it means time spent tweaking his new set-up in the hours and minutes before the stage.
After a couple of tumbles in the opening two stages, including an altercation with a bramble bush, Max Stedman was hoping for safe passage from A to B in the 18.2km test in south west Wales. And the Canyon dhb SunGod climber got just that, leaving him 3min 30sec off the lead in the GC with some big uphill tests to come. Nice base layer, Max!
Having handed the tape measure back to mechanic Eoin O’Donohoe, Ryan Christensen prepares for his warm-up. The Kiwi, who joined the team midway through the 2018 season, came into the Tour of Britain in great form having claimed third place in the UCI 1.2 Ronde van de Achterhoek in the Netherlands.
Fair to say Rory Townsend has looked more comfortable during the first few days of this race! The sprinter finished fifth and sixth in the opening two stages, respectively. And with INEOS Grenadiers rider Ethan Hayter claiming the leader’s jersey following the team time trial, Rory will now wear the points jersey on stage four. Well deserved!
Matt Bostock has a wry smile before the team roll down the start ramp. Another of the team’s sprinters, the Manx rider suffered a complicated break to a finger during a bad crash in the Tour Series less than a month ago. He’s battled hard to make the start line, with two fingers still bandaged together. But he’ll be hoping for an opportunity in a fast finish before the race is over.
And they’re off. The team time trial saw the riders charge from Llandeilo to the National Botanic Garden of Wales. On a sweltering day, they clocked a time of 22min 24sec at an average speed of 48.7kph.
Having set off together, Ryan Christensen put in a number of big turns before he sat up and rolled across the line 1min 52sec adrift of his team-mates. Thomas Mein was also detached late on – but that was hardly surprising given the extensive road rash he suffered in a 65kph crash on stage two. He’s a hero for making the start, frankly!
Talking of heroes, we can’t publish a photo diary from this race without a picture of Jacob Scott. The upside of having a team time trial is the fact the Yorkshireman couldn’t be challenged in the king of the mountains and intermediate sprints competitions, where he has a commanding lead heading into stage four.
On Wednesday the race traverses 210km from Aberaeron to Great Orme, where the riders will tackle their first summit finish – a 1.9km ascent with an average gradient of 9.2%. Looking ahead to the rest of the week, Jacob Scott said: “There are some key stages coming up, so you’ll be seeing me up the road again for sure!”
The race continues...