Tour of Britain: Dylan van Baarle takes narrow lead as Dowsett trails

Dylan van Baarle
Van Baarle will take a 19-second advantage into the final day of the Tour

Belgium's Julien Vermote won the seventh stage of the Tour of Britain as overall leader Alex Dowsett lost the yellow jersey to Dylan van Baarle.

Dutch rider Van Baarle had joined Vermote in a five-man breakaway on the 225.1km (140 mile) stage from Camberley to Brighton, the longest of the Tour.

Van Baarle is now 19 seconds ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski, with Dowsett 59 seconds back in 10th, 12 seconds behind seventh-placed Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The race concludes in London on Sunday.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Vermote struck out for victory when he attacked on Ditchling Beacon, the penultimate climb.

Ditchling Beacon
Ditchling Beacon, where Vermote attacked, was the first of two climbs in the closing miles of the stage

But as the Belgian raced for victory on Brighton seafront, Van Baarle and Lithuania's Ignatas Konovalovas held off the peloton with a two-man sprint for second place.

Meanwhile, Britain's Dowsett, riding for Movistar, was further back, struggling to keep pace with the other top-10 contenders including Poland's Kwiatkowski, who came fourth, and Team Sky's Wiggins who was 14th.

Konovalovas clinched second place, but Van Baarle claimed a crucial four-second bonus for third place to confirm his overall lead for Garmin-Sharp.

"I feel really great, I was really tired after the finish, we were pushing so hard and I was totally empty," the Dutchman told ITV.

"My time trial's not bad. After today it will be a little bit harder but I will try my best and we will see what happens."

Vermote added: "I'm not a sprinter, but I'm happy I finally won a stage.

"I think it was an advantage that it was a long stage, I had the team behind me and it was a perfect day."

Aside from Van Baarle's elevation and Essex-born Dowsett's slip from first to 10th, the rest of the top 10 in the general classification was largely unchanged.

Meanwhile, Britain's Mark McNally secured the point he needed to make sure of the King of the Mountains title for the An Post-Chain Reaction team.

Two stages take place on Sunday - an individual time trial, followed by 10 laps around the same 8.8km course.

What will happen in Sunday's final stages?
"The shortness of the time trial will not allow the specialists in the discipline much opportunity to pick up time in the race for the overall victory. With a longer race to follow in the afternoon, the only riders going full gas will be those chasing the stage win and those chasing the overall race win because the time trial could decide the victor. Coming at the end of the week, there will be lots of tired bodies and even though it is short, it will take a lot out of the riders."
"Like the stage in Liverpool that started the race, expect the laps of London to flash by. It is the same circuit every year so you know to look out for the potholes and how to take the two sweeping and fast corners onto Whitehall for the finish. The overall race winner will likely have been decided in the morning time trial but there's the prestige of a stage win to settle."Read Ben Swift's guide to all nine stages

Stage 7 result:

1. Julien Vermote (Bel/Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 5hrs 12mins 34secs

2. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu/MTN) +23secs

3. Dylan van Baarle (Ned/Garmin-Sharp) same time

4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +1min 20secs

5. Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Nor/Belkin) same time

6. Kevin Ista (Bel/IAM) same time

7. Dylan Teuns (Bel/BMC) same time

8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra/IAM) same time

9. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita/Bardiani) same time

10. Edoardo Zardini (Ita/Bardiani) same time

Overall classification after stage 7:

1. Dylan van Baarle (Ned/Garmi-Sharp) 30hrs 22mins 2secs

2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +19secs

3. Edoardo Zardini (Ita/Bardiani) +25secs

4. Nicolas Roche (Irl/Tinkoff-Saxo)+35secs

5. Dylan Teuns (Bel/BMC) +36secs

6. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa/Movistar) 45secs

7. Sir Bradley Wiggins (GB/Team Sky) +47secs

8. David Lopez Garcia (Spa/Team Sky) +49secs

9. Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi/IAM) +51secs

10. Alex Dowsett (GB/Movistar) +59secs

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