Briggs wins Combativity & sprints into top ten in Tour of Britain finale

Cycling can be one of the cruellest sports and in a split second the General Classification can change. After the tough mountain finish of stage 5, the tired peloton had another tough day to race through the Peak District and it was a stage that reshuffled the GC.
Unfortunately for Graham Briggs, JLT Condor’s highest placed rider, was caught on the wrong side of a crash after 20km of racing.
The incident on the blustery Gun Hill brought down Mark Cavendish and several other riders. Briggs and Tom Moses were the first to get clear of the melee but in the strong winds they were unable to close the gap to 30 riders who had gone clear on the descent and already were working hard into the headwinds. The group featured the top three riders on GC and at least two riders from World Tour teams.
It meant that the peloton had no need to chase the lead group and the bunch rode at a steady pace, gradually letting the leaders gain more time.
Tour de France stage winner Matteo Trentin explained “For me and probably 99% of the field, that is the hardest race and stage I have ever done. You just have to look at the numbers, I was averaging 365 watts for four hours and 45 minutes. That’s tough.”

The sight of a 75 strong grupetto coming home 45-minutes and 47-seconds behind the stage winner – on a 192km stage of less than five hours backed up Trentin’s claim.
Stage 7
Keen to recoup something from the race after stage 6, Graham Briggs ensured he found his way into an all British breakaway group along with Movistar’s Alex Dowsett and Gabriel Cullaigh, representing Team GB. The trio rode over a 130km out front in a bid get to the line first. However, sprint team Lotto-Soudal were chasing a win for Andre Griepel and the break was chased back in the closing kilometres of the race.
Graham Briggs was rewarded with the Rouleur Combativity Award and took to the podium with his son to accept the prize.
The stage was won by Greipel who narrowly beat Team Sky’s Vivanni.
Stage 8
More high drama featured on stage 8, the redesigned London circuit drew in crowds three deep to watch the finale of the race.
An initial breakaway moved clear but three seconds available in the HotSpot sprints the bunch reeled them back in, another move went clear featuring last years winner Cannondale-Garmin Dylan Van Baarle and JLT Condor’s Richard Handley. The group were never allowed more than thirty seconds of freedom.
In the closing six kilometres a Team Sky led peloton rode hard to set up the sprint for Elia Viviani.
Edvald Boasson Hagen of MTN Qhubeka wearing the yellow leaders jerseys sprinted to fifth on the stage, which was upgraded to fourth when Andre Greipel was relegated for impeding Elia Viviani in the final sprint up Regent Street St James, handing the Italian his third stage win of the week.
Graham Briggs once again featured in the sprint and was highest placed rider from a continental team in the top ten.
Speaking after the stage Team Director  John Herety was pleased with the performance of the team during the week,
“The Tour of Britain was very tough this year the terrain was non-stop from day two. 
Graham Briggs, Tom Moses and Richard Handley rode strongly on the opening stages.
The crash on day two held up Tom & Rich which put pay to their chances on GC, and our focus changed to supporting Graham who placed well to take three top ten places and was placed as the second highest Brit on GC until Friday’s difficult stage.
“Despite dropping out from the top of the GC, I was pleased to see that Graham featured in Saturday’s break, and it was a move that had the potential to go to the line. With the KOM competition so close it wasn’t quite to be a move that stuck unfortunately for us but it makes for great viewing for fans.” 
“Richard Handley has come back from a severe broken collarbone so it was great to see him join the move on the London stage.
In the final sprint, despite a hard week, Graham featured again in the sprint. He and Owain Doull were the only Brits to place inside the top ten again on stage 8.”
“We can take several positives from the racing this week and we will build on that in 2016.
Thanks to everyone that came out to support us on the road.”
Stage 8 Results:
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky 1:50:16  
2 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Esp) Movistar Team    
3 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick Step    
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN – Qhubeka    
5 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto – Soudal    
6 Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling    
7 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx – Quick Step    
8 Graham Briggs (GBr) JLT Condor presented by Mavic    
9 Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Team Cannondale – Garmin    

10 Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins

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