Andre Greipel sprinted to victory at the end of the Aviva Tour of Britain’s longest stage, a 227-kilometre leg from Fakenham in Norfolk to Ipswich in Suffolk.
The Lotto Soudal rider headed home Team Sky’s double stage winner Elia Viviani and IAM Cycling’s Sondre Holst Enger by the narrowest of margins.
The win was Greipel’s fourth Aviva Tour of Britain stage win, adding to the three victories he took in the 2010 edition of the race.
MTN Qhubeka’s Edvald Boasson Hagen took fifth to maintain his thirteen second lead over Wout Poels and the Aviva Yellow Jersey heading to London and the final stage of the race.
Team WIGGINS’ Owain Doull finished safely sixth to keep his lead in the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, as well as remaining the Premier Inn Best British Rider thanks to his fourth overall.
Only a Boasson Hagen stage win in London will deny the Welshman the Chain Reaction Cycles jersey, providing he finishes the stage.
Peter Williams clinched the SKODA King of the Mountains competition, with no climbs on the final stage London circuit, the ONE Pro Cycling rider took maximum points on the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb of the 2015 race at Brantham Hill in Suffolk to win by two points from Madison Genesis’ Tom Stewart.
Williams also maintains a seven point lead in the YodelDirect Sprints competition.
Nine points are available on the London Stage presented by TfL, so only An Post Chain Reaction rider Conor Dunne can defeat him.
Starting in damp conditions from Fakenham’s racecourse, the original four man break consisted of Chris Opie, Alistair Slater, Johnny McEvoy and Tom Stewart, before that was reeled in and another all British group of Alex Dowsett, Gabriel Cullaigh and Graham Briggs went away, with the latter going on to win the Rouleur Combativity Award for Stage Seven.
With the battle for the final SKODA King of the Mountains points at Brantham Hill a priority, Madison Genesis worked hard to bring back the break, catching first Dowsett and then the other two escapees.
Williams took the points at the top of the ascent, with both Zdenek Stybar and then Rob Partridge attempting to go clear in the final kilometres.
Lotto Soudal and Team Sky worked hard on the front to set up the sprint for their men Greipel and Viviani, and it looked briefly like the Italian had claimed the victory on the near side, but television replays confirmed it was the German who crossed the line first.
On the Aviva General Classification there was no change at the top, with Boasson Hagen preserving his lead, but fifth placed rider Dylan Teuns, from BMC Racing, did crash out as the race passed through Wattisham Flying Station, which provided a unique home to the day’s final YodelDirect Sprint, flanked by Apache helicopters of the British Army.