Tour of Britain riders finish stage from mid to south Wales

Tour of Britain, stage five
Image caption Sir Bradley Wiggins in the yellow jersey rides in the centre of the peloton as it passes Caerphilly Castle

Riders in the Tour of Britain cycle race have tackled the 177km (110-mile) stage through mid Wales ending in Caerphilly.

Big crowds greeted some of the world's best riders when the race entered north Wales for the first time on Wednesday.

The cyclists passed through Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy before finishing in Gwynedd.

On Thursday the fifth stage went from Machynlleth, Powys, to south Wales. The stage was won by Irishman Sam Bennett.

Riders, including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish who won the race's fourth stage stage in Wales on Wednesday, crossed the Brecon Beacons and tackled four first-category (considered the hardest) climbs including Caerphilly Mountain.

It is the third year in a row the race visited the 271m high mountain and riders climbed it twice at the end of what was arguably the race's toughest stage.

"With the two ascents so close to each other, it provides a great chance for the likes of Nairo Quintana to put in repeated attacks," said Tour of Britain's Peter Hodges before the start of the fifth stage.

Image caption Sam Bennett leads the field home to win stage five of the Tour of Britain from Machynlleth to Caerphilly
Image caption Riders crossed the Brecon Beacons and tackled four hard climbs, including Caerphilly Mountain, before entering Caerphilly later in the day
Image caption The winner of stage four of the race, Mark Cavendish, could not repeat his success on Thursday
Image caption Hundreds of people lined the route as the race made its way to south Wales
Image caption Sir Bradley Wiggins still leads the Tour of Britain after five stages

Despite being called a mountain, its length and gradient means it has more in common with the short, steep ascents, often known as 'bergs', typically found in cycling's one-day classics such as the Tour of Flanders or Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

These are some of the hallowed grounds of professional cycling and the Tour of Britain has ambitions to match the prestige of these locations.

"It would be great if Caerphilly Mountain could be up there with Oude Kwaremont, the Muur or La Redoute. It certainly has the potential, the toughness and the location to do so," said Mr Hodges.

Team UK Youth's Jon Mould, from Newport, will be riding up in his debut Tour of Britain.

He was a spectator at last year's event at Caerphilly Mountain.

"It was an awesome atmosphere and it'll be amazing riding up this time and seeing what everyone has in store. I just hope the weather holds off for everyone watching and doesn't dampen their spirits," he said.

However, there is no guarantee the race will be back next year.

"The route has to keep changing and evolving, so we can't always come back to the same places," said Mr Hodges.

"Being on the route for three consecutive years has been great for Caerphilly Mountain, but there are climbs in many other areas. Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the South Downs are just three examples that could also be featured.

"It is important to keep visiting places to put them onto the cycling map, so they develop their own history.

"However, the Tour of Britain is only eight days long so it has to move around to other areas of the country.

"Last year we had the Olympic and Tour de France effect, so this year is a little bit different, but the appetite and enthusiasm for cycling is still there and still growing, so we're confident key locations like Caerphilly Mountain will be as, if not even more, popular."

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