The World Champion remains in the top 3 overall with two stages to go.
Cumbria welcomed the race for a third consecutive year, hosting the start of the 198km stage 6 from Carlisle to Gateshead, which returned on the map after a 12-year hiatus. The route contained plenty of ranked and unranked climbs, but that difficulty of the course didn’t scare the Deceuninck – Quick-Step duo of Mark Cavendish and Tim Declercq, who jumped in the breakaway as soon as the flag was waved.
The Tour de France green jersey and “El Tractor” survived many of the day’s climbs and helped the nine-man group remain at the front until the last 25 kilometers, when the peloton ramped up the pace and clawed them back. Shortly after, a select ten-man group featuring both Julian Alaphilippe and Mikkel Honoré emerged and put some daylight between them and the rest of the peloton.
Attacks came left and right from there, both our riders being among those who tried to open a gap, but despite all these accelerations, the group remained as one, in part also to Mikkel, who reeled in the last dangerous move just before the final climb. There, the powerful Dane launched the World Champion, who sprinted to third place, a result that helped him cement his position on the overall podium of the competition ahead of the weekend.
“We decided to attack early in the stage and we had both Mark and Tim, who put in a good effort at the front and remained there until close to the finish. We knew it was going to be a hard task on this course, but why not give it a go? You never try, you never win. Then Julian and Mikkel showed their good legs in the finale, with the latter delivering a great lead-out to Julian, who was up there again and took a solid podium, which confirms his upward trajectory for the final part of the season”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Brian Holm.
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