Wout van Aert became only the third rider in history to win the Tour of Britain twice after withstanding multiple attacks in Sunday’s dramatic final stage in South Wales.

The Jumbo – Visma rider finished second in Caerphilly, 11 seconds behind stage winner Carlos Rodriguez (INEOS Grenadiers), who at one point looked set to wrestle victory away from him at the death.

Having previously claimed overall victory in the race in 2021, van Aert joins Edvald Boasson Hagen (2009 and 2015) and Lars Boom (2011 and 2017) as a two-time Tour of Britain champion.

The Belgian star won the race by three seconds over Tobias Johannessen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team, runner-up), Damien Howson (Q36.5 Pro Cycling, third), and Rodriguez’s team-mate Magnus Sheffield (fourth).

“It feels great,” said van Aert. “We’ve had such an amazing week as a team, starting off with five stage wins in a row, which is pretty incredible. From then on there was a lot of pressure on us in this race, but we managed to control every stage basically. So I’m super proud, especially to finish off that teamwork.

“It was a super tough stage and, with the course this year, the weekend was really decisive. Se went all in for the GC. Today the climbs were a bit longer, which is tricky for me especially compared with riders like [Carlos] Rodriguez and [Stevie] Williams,  who are 20kg lighter than me. I had to stay calm and trust my team-mates. I really had to think a lot in that final.”

 

Attacks came from the start proper and a breakaway of six riders including Pinarello king of the mountains champion James Fouché, breakaway extraordinaire Abram Stockman (TDT – Unibet Cycling Team), Ollie Wood (Great Britain), Casper van Uden (Team dsm – firmenrich), Max Walker (TRINITY Racing), and Johan Meens (Bingoal WB) went clear after 10 kilometres.

Fouché was first to the top of the category one climb of Rhigos, which effectively sealed his win in the competition he had led since the opening stage in Greater Manchester.

The fireworks began on the Bryn Du climb above Aberdare when INEOS Grenadiers set a furious pace, decimating the peloton and momentarily isolating van Aert from his team-mates. Rodriguez attacked mid-way up the climb and took Stevie Williams (Great Britain) with him. The pair quickly built a solid advantage on the climb through the St Gwynno Forest.

Movistar and a partially-regrouped Jumbo – Visma organised and took charge on the front of the group in chase of the two breakaway riders. A gap which sat at 1’25” with a little over 30 kilometres remaining – which put both riders firmly into the GC mix – decreased to 10 seconds on the first ascent of Caerphilly Mountain. It was there that Williams’ hopes of becoming the first home winner since 2016 ended when he was distanced by Rodriguez.

More attacks came from the chase group second time up the climb, including an acceleration from van Aert with five kilometres to go, but none were powerful enough to reel in Rodriguez, who soloed to win in the shadow of Caerphilly Castle with an 11-second advantage.

“The plan was to go on the climb with 50 kilometres to go and force the other teams to chase,” said Rodriguez. “We had Magnus [Sheffield] in a good position so that he just had to follow the wheels and eventually I could get the victory. Losing Tom [Pidcock] was a big setback for us but we had to keep trying and keep believing. We had a good team and we had to try win the GC or the stage.”

Van Aert’s Jumbo – Visma team-mate Olav Kooij took the cottages.com points jersey thanks to his run of four stage wins at the start of the week, while compatriot Abram Stockman (TDT – Unibet) received the Sportsbreaks.com combativity award for illuminating the race. Top Brit was Mark Donovan (Q36.5 Pro Cycling) in fifth place overall, narrowly ahead of Saint Piran’s Zeb Kyffin. Donovan was also on the Caerphilly podium with his team-mates for taking the team classification.

Commenting on the Welsh stage of the Tour of Britain, Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to welcome the Tour of Britain back again this year, particularly for a fantastic final stage. Wales’ credentials for hosting cycling events is now well-established. ”

The Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour are the perfect showcase for our landscape as well as the welcome we provide to the competitors and spectators. Congratulations to Wout van Aert and to all involved in organising the event. I hope that seeing some of the world’s best riders over the past week has inspired people to get active and explore Wales on their bikes.”

Click here for full results.

Highlights of stage eight will be broadcast on ITV4 in the UK at 8pm on Sunday 10 September and available on demand via ITVX for 30 days.