Another gorgeous day on the road, as Stage 7 of the Tour of Britain hit East Anglia.
Todays stage was from Bury St Edmunds to Sandringham and whilst this was the flattest of the stages, it was also the longest, coming in at 125miles!
Riders were all pretty relaxed in the build to this stage… After a horrendous transfer from Cornwall to Bury, the riders all seemed pretty relaxed and looking forward a quiet day in the saddle!
The market place in Bury St Edmunds was heaving with people – three or four deep at least and it made for a terrific start, with the abbey gardens and grounds in the background (see below)
The race started well and within a few miles a break had formed. Six riders were off the front, including the big man, Wouter Sybrandy, the Dutch rider from Sigma Sport who is a real power house and loves this terrain!
Rabbobank and than HTC both drove the peloton as hard as they could as the race began its final few kms. HTC obviously wanted to lead the infamous train for Mark Cavendish, however the six man break held firm and with only 5km to go, they had around 1min on the bunch and it was clear that the break would stay out.
Wouter had some bad luck, he punctured in the final few kms, so used all his power to get back and was completely shattered for the sprint and it was down to Gediminas Bagdonas of AN POST to clinch the sprint in a thrilling finish at the Royal estate.
After the race, Wouter looked mentally and physically exhausted. Without a puncture, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have had a chance at a stage win… another day Wouter!
As Cav rode in over the line, it was clear he wasn’t happy… the crowd was massive around the HTC bus, but he simply got to the van, chucked his bike down in the grass and no one saw him again! Understandable in a way, he clearly thought he had a chance to win and was fuming that the teams didn’t bring the breakaway back! Maybe another day Cav!
Stage 7 – 2011 Tour of Britain