The best of the rider quotes following stage eight of the 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, which finished in the heart of Manchester city centre on Saturday.

Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) sealed his overall victory by claiming the stage win on Deansgate at the end of a frantic day of racing around all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus)

Stage winner and OVO Energy green jersey

“Coming into the OVO Energy Tour of Britain I didn’t really think that winning the race was possible because of the time trial as I hadn’t done one in a really long time. After the time trial I started to believe I could win overall but today was harder than I thought it would be. It wasn’t an easy day today. A lot of teams tried to attack us.

I thought I was only sprinting against the Sunweb guy [Chad Haga] but then [Matteo] Trentin came from behind. I think I timed my jump perfectly so, yeah, I’m glad to win. I’m really happy with how I felt today, too.”

On his Corendon – Circus team-mates: “They’ve really overdone it I think! Really, I’m proud of them. We are not the biggest team here, but they gave everything they had, also after the steep climb [Ramsbottom Rake] we still had three riders in the first group. They did an amazing job today, especially after yesterday.”

Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes)

SKODA King of the Mountains winner

“I wouldn’t say the [SKODA King of the Mountains] jersey was a specific target coming in – I wanted to try to something in a stage but I’m happy to win it, obviously.

“I don’t think I’ve done an eight-day stage race since the Tour of Britain two years ago. I’d convinced myself that with working four days a week I’d probably have one really bad day, but I don’t think I did.

“I’ve been thinking more about the [SKODA King of the Mountains] jersey and saying ‘I can take points here tomorrow’ and ‘I can take points there’. I’ve been a bit sick the last couple of days but nothing that couldn’t get me round today.”

Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes)

“To take the jersey in what is effectively the biggest race of the season for our team is fantastic. It’s something we’ve prepared for all year and the fact that it’s supported by Eisberg, as our team have been for the last couple of years, is a nice touch as well.”

On clinching the jersey win: “Pure relief. It was really nice. We still had other things on our mind to some extent today as the gap [to nearest challenger Team INEOS’ Dylan van Baarle] wasn’t huge. I was very happy with how the stage started today -three guys up the road who weren’t in contention.

“Obviously hindsight is a great thing but looking back I would have tried to lock the jersey down a bit earlier!”

On the importance of the race: “It’s really important for all the domestic teams. Obviously this is a race with huge talent, with massive world attractions in terms of people watching, and the big teams are here as well. They take it very seriously so for us as domestic teams it can be really difficult for us to get stuff out of the race.

“But coming here with a distinct target –  going for a jersey and getting up there in breakaways – gave us a realistic goal.”

Downloads and links

Click here for the stage eight report