Mathieu van der Poel moved into the OVO Energy Tour of Britain lead on Wednesday after winning stage four atop Kendal’s famed Beast Banks climb.

The 24-year-old Dutchman attacked from a reduced peloton 200m up the gruelling Cumbrian finishing climb, crossing the line three seconds ahead of his nearest challenge.

With overnight race leader Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) placing ninth on the stage, van der Poel’s 10-second time bonus for his victory moved the Corendon – Circus Cycling Team rider into the OVO Energy green jersey at the race’s halfway point.

Van der Poel sits one second ahead of Trentin on the general classification, with Jasper de Buyst (Lotto Soudal) a further six seconds in arrears. Such is the quality in this year’s race that a further 12 riders sit within 20 seconds of the the green jersey.

Trentin retains his lead in the Cetaphil points jersey, however, while Jake Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) kept hold of the SKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg sprints jerseys.

An exciting stage that had begun from the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead was lit up early on by aggressive riding by Team INEOS duo Eddie Dunbar and Dylan van Baarle who, along with AG2R La Mondiale’s Axel Domont, were clear for a large part of the stage. Former Tour of Britain champion van Baarle eventually dropped his two breakaway companions, clinching the Wahooligan Combativity Award for his ride.

However it was a different three-man breakaway that really enlivened proceedings late n, going clear on the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb at Gawthrop above Dentdale after a diminished peloton had come back together.

The attack of Lotto Soudal rider Tiesj Benoot triggered the move, but it was home rider James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) who went clear along with Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) and Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale). They only built a small lead that saw them caught on the steepest slopes of Beast Banks. It was here that van der Poel unleashed his race-winning move.

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Up next

Wednesday sees the first-ever Wirral stage of the modern OVO Energy Tour of Britain. Starting and finishing at Birkenhead Park, the 174.1km route takes the race past some of the most famous landmarks on the Wirral peninsula, including Port Sunlight, Hoylake and the New Brighton promenade, while also passing through Chester and North Wales.

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