Aviva Tour of Britain Stage 3: Vakoc Suffers Misfortune in yellow, Trentin Secures Podium Step
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Petr Vakoc suffered ill-timed misfortune near the end of 216km Aviva Tour of Britain Stage 3, from Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso on Tuesday. The Czech Champion, wearing yellow as race leader after a solo victory the day before, crashed slightly outside the 3km mark, which meant his time lost due to the crash counted against his overall classification.
Vakoc courageously still crossed the finish line, with stagiaire Fernando Gaviria by his side. Matteo Trentin took the last step of the stage podium by placing 3rd in the group arrival earlier, behind Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar). Lobato, however, took over the race lead by finishing 2nd, minutes ahead of a downed Vakoc.
Etixx - Quick-Step successfully controlled the advantage of the breakaway in support of Vakoc, and it looked like three breakaway riders would be caught in time to both contest the sprint and potentially defend the yellow jersey of Vakoc. Vakoc had an 11" overall lead over Lobato going into the stage. However, Vakoc crashed shortly before the breakaway was caught at about 2.5km to go. Mark Cavendish and Gaviria were both caught behind the crash, which took them out of sprint contention. Both stayed upright and were unharmed. Trentin stayed focused and later contested the stage. He locked on to the wheel of Viviani, who was behind the Lotto Soudal leadout at the head of the peloton. The result was the third podium place in three stages for Etixx - Quick-Step. Trentin is now 9th overall.
"I was in great position in the finale because I was on the wheel of Viviani," Trentin said. "Before the sprint, going into the last corner before entering the city, it was really crazy. Everyone was super organized for their leadouts. Then suddenly they slowed down. So I could pass and go on the wheel of Viviani. I have to say, the finish was pretty complicated. There was a little bridge, so a narrow road before the sprint, and we were already going 60 kilometers per hour at that point. But OK, I did what I could to avoid risks and stayed on the wheel of Viviani. Then there was Lobato, and a few other guys who wanted to go for the sprint. Those guys jumped, and I did a little mistake. Viviani jumped straight away on the wheel of Enger, the rider of IAM. Then I launched my sprint but it was at 300 meters to go. It was too long. I saw Viviani still pedaling but not launching his sprint until 150 meters to go. He was stronger and smarter than me today, so congratulations to him and also Lobato for his 2nd place. I also want to wish the best from my teammate Petr Vakoc, who crashed today in the leader's jersey. We were proud of him yesterday and we gladly supported him today. For sure we will have to revisit our tactics now, and see how we are all feeling in the next days. We'll do our best to keep going for good results. We have a victory and two podium places so far, so we will see what we can do to add to those performances."
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 217.4km Stage 4, from Edinburgh to Blyth, on Wednesday. There are three categorized climbs with the potential to condition the stage. Category 2 Redstone Rigg, at the 45.4km mark, could cause some early splits in the peloton. There is also plenty of undulation heading into the finish.
Vakoc suffered contusions on the lower back, and the trauma of the crash caused the loss of the nail of his index finger. The open wound on the index finger required stitches. There is also a small fracture on the index finger. Vakoc will be monitored, and the situation will be evaluated again on Wednesday morning.