Lawless, Master of Yorkshire

May 5 th 2019 - 18:30

After an action packed day in the hills of northern Yorkshire, three riders managed to make it clear to the finish line in Leeds. While title holder Greg Van Avermaet conquered the day’s win, this fifth edition of the Tour de Yorkshire went to Christopher Lawless making the best of his slim lead in the GC prior to the final day. 

The splendid Halifax Piece Hall welcomed the riders of the Tour de Yorkshire in style. Thousands had gathered to cheer on the remaining 108 men taking on the fourth and final stage of the event. On the menu, after taking off from this historical location of Britain: 175kms of racing on a course to Leeds including five hills. Wearing the overall leader’s blue jersey at the start was Chris Lawless (INS) who knew it would be hard to defend his leadership.

At km 4, nine riders managed to break away : Lafay (COF), McEvoy, Walker (both MGT), Hivert (TDE), Rolland, Courteille (both VCB), Irizar (EUS), Scott (SCB) and Hayter (GBR).  Their advantage grew to 1’40’’ at km 12. At the top of the first climb of the day, the Côte de Goose Eye (km 22), the front group led by Scott has a 2’10 lead.

Arnaud Courteille was then the  first to reach the summit of the Côte de Barden Moor (km 39.5) while the gap reached 3’. At the first intermediate sprint, in Kilnsey (km 58), won by Scott ahead of Irizar and McEvoy, the peloton remained 2’50’’ adrift. The third hill of the day, the Cote de Park Rash was once again claimed by Courteille. After the summit, team Ineos took control of the chase and the gap started dropping. At the feeding zone, the front 9 saw their lead drop to 1’15’’. The first man to struggle at the front, and even quit the race was McEvoy.

On the climb up the Côte de Greenhow (km 128), three of the front men powered away: Lafay, Hivert and Courteille. Meanwhile, team Riwal pushed harder at the front of the pack reducing the number of riders in the peloton and moving closer to the break. At the top, Courteille conquered enough points to virtually claim the best climber’s  jersey while the front three enjoyed a 30’’ advantage over Rolland and Hayter and 55’’ over the pack.

On the final climb of the day, the Côte de Otley-Chevin (Km 154), Rolland and Hayter were caught and the front three started feeling the pressure of a group of 29 riders including all the favourites. At the top, Courteille led the way ahead of Hivert and Lafay but Dunbar (INS) powered away in a counter-attack. The Irishman managed to catch the leaders and went on to conquer the second bonus sprint. He then continued on his own at km 164.

Dunbar was eventually caught by Van Avermaet (CCC) and his team mate, the blue jersey Lawless. With 5kms to go, the front three could enjoy a 10’’ lead over a group including Kamp and 20’’ over the Froome group of over twenty men. The three men finally made it clear all the way to the line.

In a final sprint, title holder Van Avermaet conquered the day’s win ahead of Lawless and Dunbar. After capturing the blue jersey the previous day in Scarborough, Lawless manages to keep his overall leadership and wins this 5th edition of the race. In the GC, the Brit who becomes the first of his nation to win the event triumphs with a slim 2’’ advantage over Van Avermaet and 11’’ over Dunbar. Lawless also wins the points classification while Courteille finishes best climber of the Tour.

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