Primoz Roglic took a strong option on overall victory in the Tour of Britain when his LottoNL-Jumbo team put in a stellar display of cohesion and power to win the challenging 14-kilometre team time trial on stage 5, finishing with the ascent of Whinlatter Pass, over 300m above sea level.
The win gave Roglic a chance of adding a fourth stage race win to victories this season in the Tour de Romandie, Tour of the Basque Country and his home Tour of Slovenia.
Starting third from last in the field of 20 teams, LottoNL-Jumbo finished with five of their six riders still together, with only Maarten Wynants unable to hold the pace set by Roglic, Jos Van Emden, Koen Bouwman, Pascal Eenkhorn and Neilson Powless; the latter did well to hang on after appearing to go through a bad patch in the final push to the line.
LottoNL-Jumbo finished immediately after Quick-Step Floors had posted a fastest time which lasted all of three minutes, the Dutch team managing 19:37 to the Belgians’ 19:53. That left Roglic six seconds ahead of Julian Alaphilippe in the overall standings, with the Frenchman’s teammate Bob Jungels lurking ominously at 16 seconds.
As well as putting Roglic in the race leader’s green jersey, LottoNL-Jumbo placed Eenkhorn, Van Emden and Powless in the top 10 overall, which suggests they might have the strength to control Alaphilippe and Jungels, set to be their main rivals on the final 168km stage, with its four climbs, including two ascents of Whinlatter, from its tougher eastern side to the same finish line in the pinewoods.
Quick-Step crossed the line with four men, losing Iljo Keisse and Fernando Gaviria early on the rolling run-out from the start line to the beginning of the climb, which kicked up sharply with about four kilometres to go. That left the Belgian team with no margin for error, and the same dilemma was clearly felt by the other top teams; Team Sky dropped Chris Froome with four kilometres remaining and Lucas Wisnowski a couple of kilometres later, but managed fourth on the stage at 26 seconds after a strong push from Geraint Thomas, which moved Wout Poels into fifth overall.
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