Tour of Britain: Late Wout van Aert attack seals stage five win and overall race lead

Wout van Aert
Wout van Aert won the Tour of Britain in 2021

Wout van Aert produced a surprise late attack to win stage five and establish a lead in the general classification of the Tour of Britain.

The Belgian appeared to be leading out his Jumbo-Visma team-mate Olav Kooij but instead surged clear of the peloton in the final kilometre in Felixstowe.

Great Britain's Ethan Vernon was three seconds back in second place, with Dutch rider Danny van Poppel third.

The eight-stage race concludes in Caerphilly on 10 September.

With a bunch sprint anticipated to conclude the 192.4km route around the Suffolk port town, much of the talk had centred on whether Kooij would take a record fifth consecutive stage victory at the race.

However, Van Aert's powerful move caught his rivals - and the assembling sprint trains - out and he punched the air in delight as he crossed the line with a clear gap to the next set of riders.

"It is always tricky to make a plan like that," said Van Aert, 28. "When you can execute like this it gives a lot of satisfaction. Another great day for the team and [we are] really proud of this one.

"It came up as a joke slash idea and we knew if somebody responded, the bunch would still be stretched out and Olav still had a good chance in the sprint.

"We tried something else and I think that's the nice thing about cycling, there are enough times when it is boring and you know what is going to happen. It's nice to spice things up. It was a really special victory."

Vernon now sits at second in the GC race, with Ineos Grenadiers' Tom Pidcock, who finished safely in the main bunch, at seventh overall.

Stage six on Friday sees the riders travel 146.2km from Southend-on-Sea to Harlow.

Stage five results

1. Wout Van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) 4hrs 20mins 05secs

2. Ethan Vernon (GB/Great Britain) +3 secs

3. Danny van Poppel (Ned/Bora-hansgrohe) Same time

4. Alexander Salby (Den/Bingoal WB)

5. Max Kanter (Ger/Movistar)

6. Davide Persico (Ita/Bingoal WB)

7. Milan Fretin (Bel/Flanders-Baloise)

8. Davide Bomboi (Bel/TdT-Unibet)

9. Tom Pidcock (GB/Ineos Grenadiers)

10. Stian Fredheim (Nor/Uno-X Pro Cycling)

General classification after stage five

1. Wout Van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) 17hrs 45mins 36secs

2. Ethan Vernon (GB/Great Britain) +3 secs

3. Max Kanter (Ger/Movistar) Same time

4. Olav Kooij (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

5. Davide Bomboi (Bel/TdT-Unibet)

6. Danny van Poppel (Ned/Bora-hansgrohe)

7. Tom Pidcock (GB/Ineos Grenadiers)

8. Casper van Uden (Ned/DSM)

9. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa/Movistar)

10. Davide Persico (Ita/Bingoal WB)