Three challenging days of racing at the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire with over ‘2 Million spectators lining the road side’ was brought to a close in Sheffield. After an unrelenting final stage, Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) would take the stage victory along with the top spot in the General Classification standings ahead of teammate Omar Fraile. Despite huge efforts, JLT-Condor GC hopeful, Ian Bibby crossed the line a minute and half down marred by injuries sustained during a huge crash at the finish of Stage 1.
Undeterred by early misfortunes with Yorkshireman, Russ Downing being forced to leave the race prematurely following the crash during Stage 1’s sprint finish, JLT-Condor put together a strong team performance throughout the tour.
James Gullen secured a place in the breakaway with a superbly courageous effort on a short (122.5km) yet gruelling Stage 2 and spent much of the day out front. It wasn’t until summiting Côte de Lofthouse and the race began to head southwards towards Harrogate did Gullen’s breakaway group get caught. Ending with another bunch kick, this time without incident, Nacer Bouhanni (Team Cofidis) crossed the line first on the uphill drag with JLT-Condor’s sprinter, Brenton Jones in the mix, closely followed by Ian Bibby looking to keep amongst other GC contenders.
3000m of climbing, made up of eight incredibly challenging classified climbs over 195km would see the General Classification be decided on the demanding final stage of the Tour De Yorkshire. After two stages ending in sprints, the team turned their attention to protecting GC hopeful, Ian Bibby, over the ongoing ups and downs of the stage’s profile.
No sooner after the days break was caught did the cracks began to form amongst the peloton as the attacks began. Soon the field was split over the finishing 18km circuit where the final four classified climbs were to be tackled.
A well drilled team performance throughout the day put Bibby in to a good position entering the final 18km, however, marred by injuries sustained during Stage 1 crash, Bibby was unable to stay in touch with the front group and too began loosing time eventually crossing the line a minute and half down from the winner.
Descending off the final climb it was Serge Pauwels (Dimension Date) who crossed the line first ahead of teammate Omar Fraile and taking with him the top stop on the podium as overall Tour de Yorkshire 2017 winner.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted however there are many positives to take away from the teams overall performance over the last three days. The mentality of all the riders has been very encouraging to see with each one of them really focused on working as a unit to bring in the results we are striving for.” Commented John Herety, Team Manager.