Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) won the final stage and took overall victory of the Tour de Yorkshire, beating Team Sky’s Nicolas Roche in a sprint to the line, to end a breath-taking day of climbing between Middlesbrough and Scarborough.
A group of Roche, Voeckler, Adam Yates, Anthony Turgis and Steven Kruijswijk led for the final 20km before fighting for the podium spots on the Yorkshire coastline.
Voeckler and Roche broke that group up a few kilometres out, and Roche looked like he had strength to give Team Sky their second consecutive overall win, but in the final hundred metres the French champion raced past him to win.
Turgis was the highest placed of those riders pre-race, and despite Yates beating him in the race for third today, the Frenchman still earned a spot in the overall top three.
It was an exciting race full of steep, unforgiving climbs, and the peloton was first blown open after the climb of Cote de Grosmont, when Team Sky decided to attack. They fractured the peloton into a number of smaller groups, and some of those were unable to bridge the gap at any point.
Following that attack, Sky’s Gianni Moscon took important bonus seconds at the second intermediate sprint at Whitby, Turgis of Cofidis also picked up significant bonus seconds, to give him a great chance of winning overall after starting the day in seventh.
When you are just five riders going for the win it is very stressful, so I’m really happy – winner Thomas Voeckler.
Led by British Champion Peter Kennaugh, Team Sky held the race to the final Category One climb at Côte de Robin Hood’s Bay, but it was Dimension Data’s Serge Pauwels who won the climb and he was the first to attack after that.
The final stage had six climbs with King of the Mountains points up for grabs, and with an early break getting to the top of the first three Category One climbs first, it was Nathan Haas who took the points and won the KoM jersey from Richard Handley.
That early break also included Great Britain Cycling Team’s Ian Wilkinson, however he was one of the first in the group to drop off.
British Road Champion Pete Kennaugh, was awarded the Dimension Data Digital Jersey for his work supporting the other Team Sky riders.
After the race, a delighted Voeckler said: “When you win it’s always perfect, but it was a hard day and it was difficult with all those Team Sky guys. When you are just five riders going for the win it is very stressful, so I’m really happy.
“Because I lost last year I knew the final kilometres would be hard, and I knew how to manage the sprint. I told myself I would take every opportunity to make sprints and take advantage of what I knew in the final 300 metres.
“It was not only my legs that won today, it was with my head. It was difficult for me to follow the attacks sometimes but I stayed patient and managed to always make my way back. To win the stage and overall makes me really happy.”
Source: Read more and see the gallery – https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/road/article/roa20160501-road-Thomas-Voeckler-wins-the-Tour-de-Yorkshire-0#ylhJHwH18e8vU5yU.99