Tour de Yorkshire Stage Four Race Report – Halifax to Leeds
Four years on from their win in the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, newly re-launched Team INEOS made their strength and intentions known with a dominant performance that saw Chris Lawless ride away as 2019 Tour de Yorkshire champion.
The Queen stage of the Tour de Yorkshire, dubbed ‘The Yorkshire Classic’, was built to suit a Spring classics style rider; and there are none better than reigning TDY and Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet.
However, INEOS’ dominance was shown early on in the race as they controlled it from the off.
Last year’s final stage saw Stephane Rosetto produce one of the most awe-inspiring rides of any professional cycling race ever, riding over 100km in a lone breakaway on his own to take the stage.
This year was very different, challenged by Rawal Readynez and their willingness to get their man, and stage 3 winner, Alexander Kamp to the finish line in Leeds first, the World Tour teams INEOS and CCC realised they had to control the the pace and INEOS’ Ian Stannard producing another gruelling ride to help his team set up for a grandstand finish in Leeds.
A breakaway of nine riders formed early on in the race and opened up a gap of around three minutes. These riders were Pierre Rolland, Jonathan Hivert, Jake Scott, Johnny McEvoy, Joey Walker, Arnaud Courteille, Julien Irizar, Ethan Hayter and Victor Lafay.
The two sprints and five classified climbs would be taken by two riders that had formed this initial breakaway with Jacob Scott taking the first sprint and first climb and Arnaud Courteille claiming everything else on offer to secure himself the King of the Mountains jersey.
The nine-man break was reeled in to leave just three riders, Courteille, Hivert and Lafay, and they held onto a lead of around a minute and half for a while but the way that Team INEOS was starting to control the race, it was thought that they would inevitably attack this race to put their riders in with a chance of the stage and overall win.
This was never more evident than when four-time Tour de France Champion Chris Froome offered a big attack on top of Otley Chevin with just over 20km to go.
Knowing the danger of a move such as this Van Avermaet followed the move before Eddie Dunbar took the reins and launched a vicious attack that caught the leading pair and, despite it seeming like his day was over at Otley Chevin, Chris Lawless rode on with Van Avermaet to set up a sprint finish in which 2018 champion Van Avermaet took the stage but Lawless stayed on to take the overall stage win.
With this fantastic performance, Lawless became the first ever British winner of the Tour de Yorkshire in a race that also saw Yorkshireman Scott Thwaites return to form with an 8th place finish; Yorkshire’s highest placed rider since the race’s inception.
Final Jersey Standings
Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries GC Jersey: Chris Lawless (Team INEOS)
LNER King of the Mountains Jersey: Arnaud Corteille (Vital Concept)
Asda Points Jersey: Chris Lawless (Team INEOS)
Dimension Data Digital Jersey: Lucas Eriksson (Riwal Readynez)